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1. Botany of 13th Century. 

(Apple-tree and Cyclamen.) 








EE Y. W. H. PL ATT, 







Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1873, 

In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at "Washington. 

Chas. E. Wilbour, 
Printer and Bookbinder, 
205-213 East 12 th St., 



This Handbook of Art-Laws is an expansion of system- 
atized notes of Kuskin's voluminous criticisms on art, cited 
for parallel reading, by the Editor of this book, to his Art- 
Lecture classes. It is now published with the hope that 
the student may be led by its help, as a grammar of art 
principles and technicalities, to a more thorough acquaint- 
ance with Ruskin's original, eloquent, and exhaustive 

Sustained by the vast wealth accumulated by commerce 
and speculative enterprises, art and foreign travel have 
become prominent and very general enjoyments of our 
times ; and because uninformed thousands annually rush 
through Europe, utterly unable to appreciate the wonder- 
ful creations of a past civilization everywhere around 
them, Art-Culture has been made as important, in a senior 
course of study, and as a preparation for intelligent travel, 
as a knowledge of history and modern languages. To 
meet this increasing educational necessity, this volume 
has been prepared as a text-book of highest authority. 




PART I. — Subject Art. 


Chapter I. — The Value of Art 1 

" II— Schools of Art 4 

" III. — Art Language, Thought, and Laws 25 

^ " IV.— Lines 30 

" V. — Composition... 49 

" VI.— Tone 104 

" VII.— Light 120 

" VIII.— Color 146 

" IX. — Chiaroscuro 194 

PART II. —Landscape Art. 

Chapter I. — Perspective 207 

" II. — Classes of Landscape...... 223 

" III.— The Motive of Landscape 229 

" IV. — Sketching from Nature 243 

11 V. — Perfectness of Sketching 286 

" VI.— Foregrounds 302 

" VII.— Backgrounds 322 

" VIII.— Distance and Outline 336 

" IX. — Distance and the Focus of the Eye 338 

' ' X. — Distance and the Power of the Eye 345 

" XI. — Distance from Spectator affecting Colour of 

Picture 361 








Chapter I. — History of Architecture 407 

" II.— Value of the Laws of Architecture 410 

" III.— Schools of Architecture 412 

" IV.— Gothic Architecture 418 

" V.— Composition 428 



Preface iii 

Contents of the Analysis v 

Analysis of the Contents vii 


1. Kightness of work, xix 

2. Faults of a picture xix 

3. Work represents the worker xx 

4. Distinction between art and manufacture xxi 

5. Art an infection or an education xxi 

6. Moral character the foundation of art xxii 

7. Art gifts the result of the morality of generations xxii 

8. Lovely art springs from virtue xxiii 

9. 10. Turner's love of nature xxiv 

Part I.— Subject Art. 

CHAPTER I. — Value of Art, 

■1. Art — its essential value 1 

2. Art related to civilization 1 

CHAPTER II.— Schools of Art. 

1. The Athenian, Florentine, and Venetian 4 

2. Errors of art schools 7.. 6 

3. Confusion of art schools 8 

4. Eclectic school fails to correct 11 

5. Rank of art schools : 

a. From a love of the beautiful 17 

b. From character of subject 18 

G. Corruption of art schools 19 

7. The Great Masters of the schools 20 




CHAPTER III. — Art Language, Thought, and Laws. 

1. Art language is technicality 25 

2. Art thought is feeling 26 

3. Difficulty in fixing limit 26 

4. Difference between decorative and expressive language 27 

5. Instance in the Dutch and early Italian schools . 28 

6. Art laws and art intuitions 29 

CHAPTER IV.— Lines. 

1. Abstract beauty of lines 30 

2. Curved lines unequal in beauty 31 

3. Law of curvatures 33 

4. Law of curvatures . 34 

5. Law of curvatures 34 

6. Law of curvatures 35 

7. Beauty of curvature decided by experience 36 

8. Reason of delightfulness of curves 36 

9. Superiority of curves over right lines 37 

10. Nature's mode of producing curves 38 

11. Nature's mode of producing curves 39 

12. Nature's mode of producing curves 39 

13. Nature's mode of producing curves 39 

14. Nature varies her curves infinitely 40 

15. Illustrations in the ivy leaf 40 

16. Contrasts and unity of curves . 41 

17. Curves in mouldings and traceries 42 

18. Ornaments to imitate nature 44 

CHAPTER V. — Composition. 

1. Law of Principality 49 

2. Law of Repetition 52 

3. Law of Continuity 55 

4. Law of Curvature 59 

5. Law of Radiation 65 

6. Law of Contrast 77 

7. Law of Interchange 83 

8. Law of Consistency — breadth 84 

9. Law of Harmony 86 

10. Law of Help 98 

11. Law of Grouping 99 

I. Principal Laws 99 



II. Number of Figures 100 

III. Principal and subordinate groups 101 

IV. Attitude of Figures 101 

V. Form of Group 101 

1 . Angular : 

a. Diagonal ; b. Pyramidal ; c. Diamond 102 

2. Circular 102 

3. Horizontal 103 


1. Meanings of the word " Tone." — First, the right relation of ob- 

jects in shadow to the principal light 104 

2. Secondly, the quality of colour by which it is felt to owe part of 

its brightness to the hue of light upon it 104 

3. Difference between tone and aerial perspective 105 

4. Middle tints of old masters perfect 105 

5. Their middle tints and darkness 106 

6. General falsehood of such a system 107 

7. Turner's principle 108 

8. N. Poussin's "Phocion" 109 

9. Turner's "Mercury and Argus " 109 

10. The "Datur Hora Quieti" 110 

11. The second sense of the word " Tone " Ill 

12. Difference between Turner's drawings and paintings Ill 

13. Not owing to want of power over 'materials Ill 

14. Two distinct qualities of light 112 

15. Falsehoods by Titian in light 113 

16. Turner refuses such means 114 

17. But gains in essential truth by the sacrifice 114 

18. The second quality of light 115 

19. The solecisms of Cuyp 116 

20. Turner perfect in the whole — not so much in parts 117 

21. Turner's power in uniting a number of tones 118 

22. Eecapitulation 119 

CHAPTER Nil.— Light. 

V. Nature's light unapproachable 120 

2. White paper appears darker than blue sky 121 

3. Reason for this 122 

4. The white of the clouds compared with the paper and the blue 

of the sky 123 



5. Heaven-light and earth-darkness compared 123 

6. How this should be studied 124 

7. Earth is bright when seen right 125 

8. The colours of the earth 126 

9. The colour of landscape and white paper compared 127 

10. The colour of shadows 127 

11. True scales of contrasted light and shade. — Nature, Rembrandt, 

Turner, and Veronese's light 129 

12. These as to contrasts of colour 130 

13. These and Da Vinci compared 131 

14. The wet ink test — Veronese's principle 132 

15. The carmine spot test 133 

16. The Venetian rule of colour 134 

17. Some truths must be chosen and represented, others must be 

excluded 135 

18. The masters who choose light — the masters who choose colour. 135 

19. Advantages of those who choose colour over the others 136 

20. First advantage, illustrated by drapery by Da Vinci in the 

Louvre 137 

21. This method peculiar to the Roman and Florentine schools. . . . 138 

22. How to study colour and shade 139 

23. The third advantage of the colourists 140 

24. The sanctity of colour revealed 142 


I. Importance of colour 146 

II. Colour-science 151 

A. — Colours classified. 

B. — Colours modified. 

C. — Colours characterized. 

D. — Colours harmonized. 

1. Harmony of Analogy 151 

2. Harmony of Contrasts t 435 

III. Colour- Art 152 

1. Truth of colouring 152 

2. Ideality of colouring 152 

3. Force of colouring 153 

4. Balance of colour , 153 

5. Gradation of colour 154 

a. Gradation in nature 154 

b. How can this gradation be effected ? 155 

c. Colours change in gradation 156 



d. Three processes of gradation 157 

A. — Mixing while colours are wet 157 

B. — Laying one colour over another 158 

C. — Breaking one colour over another 160 

6. Tone of colour 162 

First, preciousness of white 162 

Secondly, conspicuousness of black 162 

Black as used by Velasquez 163 

Thirdly, accordant and discordant colours 164 

Fourthly, colour and form 165 

Fifthly, colour and distance 166 

IV. Colourists 168 

1. Colourists as to shadows 168 

2. Colourists as to light 169 

V. Turner's truth of colour 171 

1. The colour of G. Poussin's " La Riccia " 171 

2. As compared with the actual scene 171 

3. Turner is himself inferior in brilliancy to nature 173 

4. Impossible colours of Salvator, Titian 174 

5. Poussin, Claude 175 

6. Turners translation of colour 177 

7. Nature's brilliancy often unapproachable 178 

8. Observers often incredulous as to this 179 

9. Colour of the Napoleon 181 

10. Necessary discrepancy between the attainable bril- 

liancy of colour and light 182 

11. Less in Turner than in other colourists 182 

12. Its great extent in a landscape attributed to Rubens.. 183 

13. Turner scarcely ever uses pure or vivid colour 184 

14. The basis of grey, under all his vivid hues 186 

15. The variety and fulness even of his most simple tones 186 

16. Following the infinite and unapproachable variety of 

nature 187 

17. His dislike of purple, and fondness for the opposition 

of yellow. Nature in this respect 188 

18. His early works false in colour 189 

19. His drawings invariably perfect 190 

20. The subjection of his system of colour to that of 

chiaroscuro 190 

CHAPTER IX.— Chiaroscuro. 

1. No particular effects of light to be examined 194 



2. Distinctness of shadows chief means of expressing vividness of 

light 195 

3. Total absence of such distinctness in the works of the Italian 

school 196 

4. And partial absence in that of the Dutch 196 

5. Turner's perfection in this respect 197 

6. The effect of his shadows upon the light 199 

7. The distinction holds good between almost all the works of the 

ancient and modern schools 199 

8. Second great principle of chiaroscuro. Both high light and 

deep shadow are used in equal quantity, and only in points.. 201 

9. Writers on art disagree as to this 202 

10. And consequent misguiding of the student 202 

11. The great value of a simple chiaroscuro 203 

12. The sharp separation of Nature's lights from her middle tint . . 204 

13. The truth of Turner 205 

Part II.— Landscape Art. 

CHAPTER I.— Perspective. 

1. Great painters do not study it as a science 207 

2. First principles of perspective 209 

3. Placing of the sight-point, &c 213 

a. The Sight-point 213 

b, The Sight-line 214 

G. The Station -line. . 214 

d. The Station-point 215 

4. The general placing and scale of the picture 219 

CHAPTER II.— Glasses of Landscape. 

1. Heroic, Classical, Pastoral, Contemplative. 223 

2. Spurious landscapes 224 

3. Relation of figures _and landscape 225 

4. Emotion essential to all pictures 225 

5. Two opposite errors , 227 

CHAPTER III. — The Motive of Landscape. 

1. All great compositions have a leading emotional purpose 229 

2. The motive of the " Rietz, near Saumur " 229 

3. The time of this picture 230 

4. Horizontal and curved lines express its motive 230 



5. Radiating lines and motive 232 

6. Buildings and the motive , 232 

7. The people and the motive 233 

8. The "Fall of Schaffhausen " analyzed 233 

9. Action and the motive 234 

10. Composition g-rows out of the motive 234 

11. Turner's use of details 236 

12. The form and group — incidental remarks 236 

13. Group of leaves , 237 

14. All details must harmonize 238 

15. Nothing should be in a picture that does not help its purpose. . 240 

CHAPTER IV '.—Sketching from Nature. 

1. Lines of foliage 243 

2. Lines of trees and boughs, &c 244 

3. Lines indicative of action in other things 248 

4. Light and shade drawing 250 

5. Tinted drawings 254 

6. Four different ways of working from nature 256 

7. Choice of subject , 260 

8. Laws of leaf and tree drawing 265 

First, good and bad artists distinguished by observing organic 
law 269 

Secondly, to show individuality in leaves, clouds, &c, marks 
the great master 269 

Lastly, the mystery of indistinctness 273 

9. Modes of representing water 277 

a. Reflections or pictures in the water 277 

b. Lines of disturbance 278 

c. Shadows on or beneath the water 279 

d. Colour of water and objects reflected 281 

10. Clouds 282 

CHAPTER V. — Perfectness of Sketcliing. 

1. The reserve or limit of a sketch 286 

2. Perfect sketching is thorough but not complete 286 

3. Sketching a means, not an end 287 

4. Classes of sketches of true painters. — Experimental 288 

5. Determinant 288 

6. Commemorative 289 




7. Sketches as memorandum 289 

8. Turner's habit 291 

9. His liberty with the topography of Lausanne as to its castle . . 293 

10. The same as to the spires , 293 

11. The same as to neighbouring hills 293 

12. The same as to trees, &c 294 

13. How he notes a sandstone cliff , . . . . 294 

14. The rapidity of his work . . 295 

15. The certainty of his sketch 295 

16. Have a purpose before sketching 295 

17. Colour sketches 296 

18. This the Venetian way 297 

19. Amount of ground colours not important to a great painter . . . 298 

20. The whole picture must be imagined before sketched 299 

21. The mind must be calm 300 

22. High qualities only form a high artist 301 

23. No false person can paint 301 

CHAPTER VI. — Foregrounds. 

A. Foregrounds of rock and soil 302 

1. Rocks drawn by the ancients 302 

2. Salvator's limestone foregrounds 302 

3. Salvator's acute angles 303 

4. Light and shade of rocks in nature 304 

5. Salvator confused both 305 

6. Ancients expressed no fissure or splintering 305 

7. Instances in particular pictures 305 

8. Stanfield's works 306 

9. Opposed to Salvator's. . . 307 

10. The rocks of Harding 307 

11. The ancient foregrounds of loose soil 308 

12. Loose soil foregrounds may be beautiful 308 

13. The ground of Teniers 309 

14. Importance of these minor points 310 

15. Observance of them denotes the master 311 

16. Ground of Cuyp 311 

17. Ground of Claude 312 

18. Weakness of Claude 313 

19. Compared with Turner. 313 

20. Turner's foreground 314 

21. Geological structure of his rocks 315 

22. Their curved surfaces and fractured edges 315 



23. Their perfect unity 310 

24. Their drawing tells their geological history 310 

'25. The foreground of Llanthony 316 

26» Turner's drawing of weathered stones 317 

27. Turners complicated foreground 318 

28. And of loose soil 319 

29. The ideal foregrounds of the Academy ,. 319 

30. The lesson to be derived from all 320 

B. The botanical foregrounds of the ancients 320 

CHAPTER VII.— Backgrounds. 

1. Conventional or mediasval 322 

2. Imitative backgrounds , 323 

3. Light backgrounds 330 

4. Backgrounds of historical painters 335 

CHAPTER VIII.— Distance, 
1. Distance and outline 336 


Distance and Indistinctness as dependent on the focus of the eye. 

1. Distance attained by drawing, not hue 338 

2. Objects at different distances not seen at once 339 

3. Especially such as are both comparatively near 339 

4. Foreground or distance must be sacrificed 340 

5. Ancient masters failing in this, failed in distance 341 

6. Modern artists succeeded in this 341 

7. EspeciaUy Turner 343 

8. Turner's figure drawing justified 343 


Distance and Indistinctness as dependent on the power of the eye. 

1. Objects retiring from the eye indistinct 345 

2. This causes confusion but not annihilation of details 345 

3. Instances in various objects .' 346 

4. Nature never vacant and never distinct 347 

5. The old masters either distinct or vacant 348 

6. Instances from Nicholas Poussin 348 

7. From Claude 349 

8. And Caspar Poussin 350 




9. Landscape painting to be full and finished 351 

10. Breadth is not vacancy 352 

11. Turner's fulness and mystery 353 

12. Further illustrations in architectural drawing \ . . . 354 

13. In near objects as well as distances 355 

14. Vacancy and falsehood of Canaletto 356 

15. Still greater fulness and finish in landscape foregrounds 356 

16. Space and size are destroyed alike by distinctness and vacancy. 357 

17. Swift execution best secures perfection of details 358 

18. Finish more necessary to landscape than to historical subjects.. 358 

19. Recapitulation 359 


Distance and the colour of a painting from its position. 

1. Colours soft at a distance 361 

2. Colour intensified by distance „ 362 

3. Every picture has its own necessities of distance 363 


1. Definition 367 

2. Sculpture and National Life 367 

3. Essentia] Principles of Sculpture .• 368 

a. The Production of Bossiness j 

b. Abstract Beauty of Surface ) " ' 

4. The Instincts of Sculpture 369 

a. The Instinct of Mimicry. 369 

b. The Instinct of Idolatry 369 

c. The Instinct of Discipline 370 

5. Composition of Greek Sculpture 372 

a. Likeness 372 

b. Rightness 372 

c. Masses 373 

d. Drapery 374 

e. Accessories inadmissible 377 

f Grouping 377 

g. Lines 378 



1. Lines of Motive 378 

2. Lines of Truth 378 

3. Lines of Beauty and Grace 379 

4. Lines of Repose 380 

7i. Symmetry and Proportion 384 

i. Unity 387 

/. Variety 388 

h. Harmony 389 

I. Exaggeration 389 

m. Anatomy 390 

n. Bas-relief 391 

Schools of Sculpture - 393 

1. The Greek Yenus and the Italian Venus , 396 

2. Greek Sculpture and Florentine Sculpture 398 

3. No Passion or Personal Character in Greek Art , ) 

> 399 

Otherwise in Florentine Art ) 

4. Greek Art with respect to the World 401 

a. It is the Root of all Simplicity 401 

b. Of all Complexity 402 

5. Greeks the origin of all broad, mighty, calm concep- 

tion, and also of all that is delicate and tremulous . . 403 



The General History of Architecture 407 


The Value of the Laws of Architecture 410 


The Schools of Architecture .• 412 

A. Greek : Lintel Architecture 413 

1. The Doric ' 414 

2. The Ionic 414 

3. The Corinthian 414 

4. The Composite 414. 

5. The Tuscan 415 




B. Romanesque: Round Arch Architecture 415 

1. The Bizantine changed to Arabian G-othic 415 

2. The Lombardic changed to Teutonic Gothic 415 

C. Gothic : Architecture of the Gable 415 

1. General Distinctions 415 

2. Tests of Good Gothic 418 

First, Steep Gable 418 

Second, Gables over principal Doors and Windows. . . 418 

Third, Cusped Arches and Foliated Apertures 418 

Fourth, Arches carried on true Shafts and Capitals . . 419 

3. Gothic flexibility and variety of Gothic Schools 419 

4. Aspiration as a law of Gothic Schools 420 

1. Towers 421 

2. Campaniles . . . 423 

3. Spires 424 


Composition 428 

1. Law of Principality . . 428 

2. Law of Proportion 429 

a. No Proportion between equal things 429 

b. Must be three Terms 429 

c. Proportion Vertical Division _ , 430 

3. Law of Masses or Breadth 431 

4. Laws of Harmonies 433 

General Principle of Contrast 433 

Seven Rules of Harmony of Contrast and Analogy 437 

Contrast or Form for the Mountain Villa 440 

Analogy or Assimilation of Form with Landscape 443 

Colour of Building and Landscape 448 

A new Glossary of Art Terms 451 

An Alphabetical and Chronological List of Artists, with critical 

references 471 


In different places of my writings, and through many 
years of endeavour to define the laws of art, I have insisted 
on rightness in work, and on its connection with virtue of 
character, in so many partial ways, that the impression 
left on the reader's mind — if, indeed, it was ever impress- 
ed at all — has been confused and uncertain. In begin- 
ning the series of my corrected works, I wish this principle 
(in my own mind the foundation of every other) to be 
made plain, if nothing else is : and will try, therefore, to 
make it so, as far as, by any effort, I can put it into un- 
mistakeable words. And, first, here is a very simple state- 
ment of it, given lately in a lecture on the Architecture of 
the Yalley of the_Somme, which will be better read in 
this place than in its incidental connection with my ac- 
count of the porches of Abbeville. 

2. I had used, in a preceding part of the lecture, the ex- 
pression, " by what faults " this Gothic architecture fell. 
We continually speak thus of works of art. We talk of 
their faults and merits, as of virtues and vices. What do 
we mean by talking of the faults of a picture, or the 
merits of a piece of stone ? 

The faults of a work of art are the faults of its work- 
man, and its virtues his virtues. 

Great art is the expression of the mind of a great man, 
and mean art, that of the want of mind of a weak man. 
A foolish person builds foolishly, and a wise one, sensibly ; 
a virtuous one, beautifully ; and a viciou*3 one, basely. If 



stone work is well put together, it means that a thought- 
ful man planned it, and a careful man cut it, and an 
honest man cemented it. If it has too much ornament, 
it means that its carver was too greedy of jDleasure ; if too 
little, that he was rude, or insensitive, or stupid, and the 
like. So that when once you have learned how to spell 
these most precious of all legends, — pictures and build- 
ings, — you may read the characters of men, and of na- 
tions, in their art, as in a mirror ; — nay, as in a micro- 
scope, and magnified a hundredfold ; for the character 
becomes passionate in the art, and intensifies itself in all 
its noblest or meanest delights. Nay, not only as in a 
microscope, but as under a scalpel, and in dissection ; for 
a man may hide himself from you, or misrepresent him- 
self to you, every other way ; but he cannot in his work : 
there, be sure, you have him to the inmost. All that he 
likes, all that he sees, — all that he can do, — his imagina- 
tion, his affections, his perseverance, his impatience, his 
clumsiness, cleverness, everything is there. If the work is 
a cobweb, you know it was made by a spider ; if a honey- 
comb, by a bee ; a worm-cast is thrown up by a worm, 
and a nest wreathed by a bird ; and a house built by 
a man, worthily, if he is worthy, and ignobly, if he is 

And always, from the least to the greatest, as the made 
thing is good or bad, so is the maker of it. 

3. You all use this faculty of judgment more or less, 
whether you theoretically admit the principle or not. 
Take that floral gable ; * you don't suppose the man who 
built &tonehenge could have built that, or that the man 
who built that, would have built Stonehenge % Do you 

* The elaborate pediment above the central porch at the west end of 
Rouen Cathedral, pierced into a transparent web of tracery, and en- 
riched with a border T)f " twisted eglantine." 



think an old Roman would have liked such a piece of 
filigree work \ or that Michael Angelo would have spent 
his time in twisting these stems of roses in and out ? You 
will find in the end, that no man coidd have done it but 
exactly the man who did it ; and by looking close at it, 
you may, if you know your letters, read precisely the man- 
ner of man he was. 

4. Now I must insist on this matter, for a grave reason. 
Of all facts concerning art, this is the one most necessary 
to be known, that, while manufacture is the work of 
hands only, art is the work of the whole spirit of man ; 
and as that spirit is, so is the deed of it : and by what- 
ever power of vice or virtue any art is produced, the same 
vice or virtue it reproduces and teaches. That which is 
born of evil begets evil ; and that which is born of valour 
and honour, teaches valour and honour. All art is either 
infection or education. It must be one or other of these. 

5. This, I repeat, of all truths respecting art, is the one 
of which understanding is the most precious, and denial 
the most deadly. It is written in the history of all great 
nations ; it is the one sentence always inscribed on the 
steps of their thrones ; the one concordant voice in which 
they speak to us out of their dust. 

All such nations first manifest themselves as a pure 
and beautiful animal race, with intense energy and im- 
agination. They live lives of hardship by choice, and by 
grand instinct of manly discipline : they become fierce and 
irresistible soldiers ; the nation is always its own army, 
and their king, or chief head of government, is always 
their first soldier. Pharaoh, or David, or Leonidas, or 
Valerius, or Barbarossa, or Coeur de Lion, or St. Louis, or 
Dandolo, or Frederick the Great : — Egyptian, Jew, Greek, 
Roman, German, English, French, Venetian, — that is in- 
violable law for them all ; their king must be their first 
soldier, or they cannot be in progressive power. Then, 



after their great military period, comes the domestic 
period ; in which, without betraying the discipline of war, 
they add to their great soldiership the delights and posses- 
sions of a delicate and tender home-life : and then, for all 
nations, is the time of their perfect art, which is the fruit, 
the evidence, the reward of their national ideal of charac- 
ter, developed by the finished care of the occupations of 
peace. That is the history of all true art that ever was, 
or can be : palpably the history of it, — unmistakeably, — 
written on the forehead of it in letters of light, — in 
tongues of fire, by which the seal of virtue is branded as 
deep as ever iron burnt into a convict's flesh the seal of 
crime. But always, hitherto, after the great period, has 
followed the days of luxury, and pursuit of the arts for 
pleasure only. And all has so ended. 

6. The foundation of art is in moral character. Of 
course art-gift and amiability of disposition are two differ- 
ent things ; a good man is not necessarily a painter, nor 
does an eye for colour necessarily imply an honest mind. 
But great art implies the union of both powers : it is the 
expression, by an art-gift, of a pure soul. If the gift is 
not there, we can have no art at all ; and if the soul — and 
a right soul too — is not there, the art is bad, however dex- 

7. But also, remember, that the art-gift itself is only 
the result of the moral character of generations. A bad 
woman may have a sweet voice ; but that sweetness of 
voice comes of the past morality of her race. That she 
can sing with it at all, she owes to the determination of 
laws of music by the morality of the past. Every act, 
every impulse, of virtue and vice, affects in any creature, 
face, voice, nervous power, and vigour and harmony of 
invention, at once. Perseverance in rightness of human 
conduct, renders, after a certain number of generations, 
human art possible ; every sin clouds it, be it ever so little 



m a one ; and persistent vicious living and following of plea- 
sure render, after a certain number of generations, all art 
impossible. Men are deceived by the long-suffering of 
the laws of nature ; and mistake, in a nation, the reward 
of the virtue of its sires for the issue of its own sins. The 
time of their visitation will come, and that inevitably ; for, 
it is always true, that if the fathers have eaten sour grapes, 
the children's teeth are set on edge. And for the indi- 
vidual, as soon as you have learned to read, you may, as I 
. said, know him to the heart's core, through his art. Let 
his art-gift be never so great, and cultivated to the height 
by the schools of a great race of men ; and it is still but a 
tapestry thrown over his own being and inner soul ; and 
the bearing of it will show, infallibly, whether it hangs on 
a man, or on a skeleton. If you are dim-eyed, you may 
not see the difference in the fall of the folds at first, but 
learn how to look, and the folds themselves will become 
transparent, and you shall see through them the death's 
shape, or the divine one, making the tissue above it as a 
cloud of light, or as a winding-sheet. 

8. Then farther, observe, I have said (and you will find 
it true, and that to the uttermost) that, as all lovely art is 
rooted in virtue, so it bears fruit of virtue, and is didactic 
in its own nature. It is often didactic also in actually ex- 
pressed thought, as Giotto's, Michael Angelo's, Durer's, 
and hundreds more ; but that is not its special function, — 
it is didactic chiefly by being beautiful ; but beautiful 
with haunting thought, no less than with form, and full 
of myths that can be read only with the heart. 

For instance, at this moment there is open beside me 
as I write, a page of Persian manuscript, wrought with 
wreathed azure and gold, and soft green, and violet, and 
ruby and scarlet, into one field of pure resplendence. It 
is wrought to delight the eyes only; and does delight 
them ; and the man who did it assuredly had eyes in his 



head ; but not much more. It is not didactic art, but its 
author was happy : and it will do the good, and the harm, 
that mere pleasure can do. But, opposite me, is an early 
Turner drawing of the lake of Geneva, taken about two 
miles from Geneva, on the Lausanne road, with Mont 
Blanc in the distance. The old city is seen lying beyond 
the waveless waters, veiled with a sweet misty veil of 
Athena's weaving : a faint light of morning, peaceful ex- 
ceedingly, and almost colourless, shed from behind the 
Yoirons, increases into soft amber along the slope oi the 
Saleve, and is just seen, and no more, on the fair warm 
fields of its summit, between the folds of a white cloud 
that rests upon the grass, but rises, high and tower-like, 
into the zenith of dawn above. 

9. There is not as much colour in that low amber light 
upon the hill-side as there is in the palest dead leaf. The 
lake is not blue, but gray in mist, passing into deep shadow 
beneath the Yoirons' pines ; a few dark clusters of leaves, 
a single white flower — scarcely seen — are all the gladness 
given to the rocks of the shore. One of the ruby spots of 
the eastern manuscript would give colour enough for all 
the red that is in Turner's entire drawing. For the mere 
pleasure of the eye, there is not so much in all those lines 
of his, throughout the entire landscape, as in half an inch 
square of the Persian's page. What made him take plea- 
sure in the low colour that is only like the brown of a dead 
leaf? in the cold gray of dawn — in the one white flower 
among the rocks — in these — and no more than these? 

10. He took pleasure in them because he had been bred 
among English fields and hills ; because the gentleness of 
a great race Avas in his heart, and its powers of thought in 
his brain ; because he knew the stories of the Alps, and of 
the cities at their feet ; because he had read the Homeric 
legends of the clouds, and beheld the gods of dawn, and 
the givers of dew to the fields ; because he knew the faces 



of the crags, and the imagery of the passionate mountains, 
as a man knows the face of his friend ; because he had in 
him the wonder and sorrow concerning life and death, 
which are the inheritance of the Gothic soul from the days 
of its first sea kings ; and also the compassion and the joy 
that are woven into the innermost fabric of every great 
imaginative spirit, born now in countries that have lived by 
the Christian faith with any courage or truth. And the 
picture contains also, for us, just this which its maker had in 
him to give ; and can convey it to us, just so far as we are 
of the temper in which it must be received. It is didactic 
if we are worthy to be taught, no otherwise. The pure heart, 
it will make more pure ; the thoughtful, more thoughtful. 
It has in it no words for the reckless or the base. 

11. As I myself look at it, there is no fault nor folly of 
my life, — and both have been many and great, — that does 
not rise up against me, and take away my joy, and shorten 
my power of possession, of sight, of understanding. And 
every past effort of my life, every gleam of rightness or 
good in it, is with me now, to help me in my grasp of this 
art, and its vision. So far-as I can rejoice in, or interpret 
either, my power is owing to what of right there is in me. 
I dare to say it, that, because through all my life I have 
desired good, and not evil ; because I have been kind to 
many ; have wished to be kind to all ; have wilfully injur- 
ed none ; and because I have loved much, and not selfish- 
ly ; therefore the morning light is yet visible to me on 
those hills, and you, who read, may trust my thought and 
word in such work as I have to do for you ; and you will 
be glad afterwards that you have trusted them. 

12. Yet remember, — I repeat it again and yet again, — 
that I may for once, if possible, make this thing assuredly 
clear : — the inherited art-gift must be there, as well as the 
life, in some poor measure, or rescued fragment, right. 

Queen of Air, Chap. iiL 




I.— Subject Aet. 



1. That art is valuable or otherwise, only as it ex- 
presses the personality, activity, and living perception of 
a great human soul. If it have not this, it is worthless. 
"Worthless, I mean, as art ; it may be precious in some 
other way, but, as art, it is nugatory. Once let this be 
well understood among us, and magnificent consequences 
will soon follow. Let me repeat it in other terms, so that 
I may not be misunderstood. All art is great, and good, 
and true, only so far as it is distinctively the work of 
manhood in its entire and highest sense ; that is to say, 
not the work of limbs and fingers, but of the soul, aided, 
according to her necessities, by the inferior powers ; and 
therefore distinguished in essence from all products of 
those inferior powers unhelped by the soul. In this high 
sense neither Photography nor Topography is art. All 
art as mere art is a low and common thing, and what we 
indeed respect is not art at all, but instinct or inspiration 
expressed by the help of art. 3 S. V. 188. 

2. Historically, great success in art is apparently con- 
nected with subsequent national degradation. You find, 
in the first place, that the nations which possessed a 
refined art were always subdued by those who possessed 



none : you find the Lydian subdued by the Mede ; the 
Athenian by the Spartan ; the Greek by the Roman ; the 
Roman by the Goth ; the Burgundian by the Switzer : 
but you find beyond this, — that even where no attack by 
any external power has accelerated the catastrophe of the 
state, the period in which any given people reach their 
highest power in art is precisely that in which they appear 
to sign the warrant of their own ruin ; and, that from the 
moment in which a perfect statue appears in Florence, 
a perfect picture in Venice, or a perfect fresco in Rome, 
from that hour forward, probity, industry and courage 
seemed to be exiled from their walls, and they perish in 
a sculpturesque paralysis, or a many-coloured corruption. 

But even this is not all. As art seems thus, in its deli- 
cate form, to be one of the chief promoters of indolence 
and sensuality, — so I need hardly remind you, it hitherto 
has appeared only in energetic manifestation when it was 
in the service of superstition. The four greatest manifes- 
tations of human intellect which founded the four princi- 
pal kingdoms of art, Egyptian, Babylonian, Greek, and 
Italian, were developed by the strong excitement of active 
superstition in the worship of Osiris, Belus, Minerva, and 
the Queen of Heaven. Therefore, to speak briefly, it may 
appear very difficult to show that art has ever yet existed 
in a consistent and thoroughly energetic school, unless it 
was engaged in the propagation of falsehood, or the en- 
couragement of vice. 

And finally, while art has always thus shown itself ac- 
tive in the service of luxury and idolatry, it has also been 
strongly directed to the exaltation of cruelty. A nation 
which lives a pastoral and innocent life never decorates 
the shepherd's staff or the plough-handle, but races who 
live by depreciation and slaughter nearly always bestow ex- 
quisite ornaments on the quiver, the helmet, and the spear. 

Queen of Air, Lect. 1. 



Does it not seem then, on all these counts, more than 
questionable whether art-culture promises any good % 
Wherever art is practised for its own sake, and the delight 
of the workman is in what he does and produces, in- 
stead of what he interprets or exhibits, — there art has an 
influence of the most fatal kind on brain and heart, and 
it issues, if long pursued, in the destruction of both in- 
tellectual power and moral principle / whereas art, de- 
voted humbly and self -forgetfully to the clear statement 
on record of the facts of the universe, is always helpful 
and beneficent to mankind, full of comfort, strength, and 
salvation. Queen of Air, Lect. 1. 

Now, when you are once well assured of this, you may 
logically infer that when Art is occupied in the function 
in which she is serviceable, she will herself be strength- 
ened by the service ; but when distorted to the deception 
or degradation of mankind, she will be herself equally 
misled and degraded. Good art, which interprets, rather 
than imitates nature, always exalts. In a word, good art 
always consists of two things : First, the observation 
of fact ; secondly, the manifesting of human design and 
authority in the way that fact is told. Great and good 
art must unite the two; it cannot exist for a moment but 
in their unity ; it consists of the two as essentially as water 
consists of oxygen and hydrogen, or marble of lime and 
carbonic acid. Queen of Air, Lect. 1. 



I. There have only yet appeared in the world three 
schools of perfect art, — schools, that is to say, that did 
their work as well as it seems possible to do it. These are 
the Athenian, Florentine, and Venetian. 

1. The Athenian proposed to itself the perfect repre- 
sentation of the form of the human body. It strove to 
do that as well as it could ; it did that as well as it can be 
done; and all its greatness was founded upon and in- 
volved in that single and honest effort. 

2. The Florentine school proposed to itself the perfect 
expression of human emotion — the showing of the effects 
of passion in the human face and gesture. I call this the 
Florentine school, because whether you take Raphael for 
the culminating master of expressional art in Italy, or Leo- i 
nardo, or Michael Angelo, you will find that the whole 
energy of the national effort which produced those masters 
had its root in Florence ; not at Urbino or Milan. I say 3 
then, this Florentine or leading Italian school proposed to 
itself human expression for its aim in natural truth; it 
strove to do that as well as it could — did it as well as it 
can be done — and all its greatness is rooted in that single 
and honest effort. 

3. Thirdly, The Verietian school proposed the represen- 
tation of the effect of colour and shade on all tilings, chiefly 
on the human form. It tried to do that as well as it could 
— did it as well as it can be done — and all its greatness is 
founded on that single and honest effort. 

For illustration: There's the (so-called) "Theseus" of 



the Elgin marbles. That represents the whole end and 
aim of the Athenian school — the natural form of the hu- 
man body. All their conventional architecture — their 
graceful shaping and painting of pottery — whatsoever 
other art they practised — was dependent for its greatness 
on this sheet-anchor of central aim : true shape of living 

Then take for your type of the Italian school, Raphael's 
"Disputa del Sacramento;" that will be an accepted type 
by everybody, and will involve no possibly questionable 
points : the Germans will admit it ; the English Academi- 
cians will admit it ; and the English Purists and Pre-Ra- 
phaelites will admit it. Well, there you have the truth of 
human expression proposed as an aim. That is the way 
people look when they feel this or that — when they have 
this or that other mental character: are they devotional, 
thoughtful, affectionate, indignant or inspired? are they 
prophets, saints, priests, or kings ? then — whatsoever is 
truly thoughtful, affectionate, prophetic, priestly, kingly — 
that the Florentine school tried to discern and show : that 
they have discerned and shown ; and all their greatness is 
first fastened in their aim at this central truth — the open 
expression of the living soul. 

Lastly, take Veronese's "Marriage in Cana," in the 
Louvre. There you have the most perfect representation 
possible of colour, and light, and shade, as they affect the 
external aspect of the human form, and its immediate 
accessories, architecture, furniture, and dress. This exter- 
nal aspect of noblest nature was the first aim of the Vene- 
tians, and all their greatness depended on their resolution 
to achieve, and their patience in achieving it. 

Here, then, are the three greatest schools of the former 
w T orld exemplified for you in three well-known works. 
The Phidian "Theseus" represents the Greek school pur- 
suing the truth of form; the "Disputa" of Raphael the 



Florentine school pursuing truth of mental expression; 
the "Marriage in Cana" the Venetian school pursuing 
the truth of colour and light. Two Paths, 25 et passim. 

The perfect unison of expression, as the painter's main 
purpose, with the full and natural exertion of his pictorial 
power in the details of the work is found only in the old 
Pre-Raphaelite periods, and in the modern Pre-Raphael- 
ite school. In the works of Giotto, Angelico, Orcagna, 
John Belline, and one or two more, these two conditions 
of high art are entirely fulfilled, so far as the knowledge 
of those days enabled them to be fulfilled ; and in the 
modern Pre-Raphaelite school they are fulfilled nearly to 
the uttermost. Hunt's Light of the World is, I believe, 
the most perfect instance of expressional purpose with 
technical power which the world has yet produced. 

II. Errors of Art Schools. In the Post-Raphaelite period 
of ancient art, (such as the period of Claude, Graspar Pous- 
sin, Salvator Rosa, Cuyp, Berghem, Both, Ruysdael, Hob- 
bima, Teniers in his landscapes, P. Potter, and Canal etti 
— Editor) and in the spurious high art of modern times, 
two broad forms of error divide the schools ; the one con- 
sisting in the superseding of expression by technical ex- 
cellence, and the other in the superseding of technical 
excellence by expression. 

1. Superseding expression by technical excellence. — ■ 
This takes place most frankly, and therefore most innocent- 
ly, in the work of the Venetians. They very nearly ignore 
expression altogether, directing their aim exclusively to the 
rendering of external truths of colour, and form. Paul 
Veronese will make the Magdalene wash the feet of Christ 
with a countenance as absolutely unmoved as that of any 
ordinary servant bringing a ewer to her master, and will 
introduce the supper at Emmaus as a background to the 



portraits of two children playing with a dog. Of the 
wrongness or rightness of such a proceeding we shall 
reason in another place ; at present we have to note it 
merely as displacing the Venetian work from the highest or 
expressional rank of art. But the error is generally made 
in a more subtle and dangerous way. The artist deceives 
himself into the idea that he is doing all that he can to ele- 
vate his subject by treating it under rules of art ; introduc- 
ing into it accurate science, and collecting for it the beau- 
ties of the (so-called) ideal form ; whereas, he may, in reality, 
be all the while sacrificing his subject to his own vanity 
or pleasure, and losing truth, nobleness, and impressiveness 
for the sake of delightful lines or creditable pedantries. 

2. Superseding technical excellence by expression. — 
This is usually done under the influence of another kind of 
vanity. The artist desires that men should thiuk he has 
an elevated soul, affects to despise the ordinary excellence 
of art, contemplates with separated egotism the course of 
his own imaginations or sensations, and refuses to look 
at the real facts round about him, in order that he may 
adore at leisure the shadow of himself. He lives in what 
he calls tender emotions and lofty aspirations ; which are, 
in fact, nothing more than ordinary weaknesses or instincts, 
contemplated through a mist of pride. A large range of 
German art comes under this head. 

A more interesting and respectable form of this error is 
fallen into by some truly earnest men, who, finding their 
powers not adequate to the attainment of great artistical 
excellence, but adequate to rendering, uj3 to a certain 
point, the expression of the human countenance, devote 
themselves to that object alone, abandoning effort in other 
directions, and executing the accessories of their pictures 
feebly or carelessly. With these are associated another 
group of philosophical painters who supj)ose the artistical 
merits of other parts adverse to the expression, as drawing 



the spectator's attention away from it, and who paint in 
gray colour, and imperfect light and shade, by way of en- 
forcing the purity of their conceptions. Both these classes 
of conscientious but narrow-minded artists forget that 
colour, if used at all, must be either true or false, and that 
what they call chastity, dignity and reserve, is, to the eyes 
of any one accustomed to nature, pure, bold, and imper- 
tinent falsehood. No man ever despised colour who could 
produce it. 3 M. P., 30. 

III. Confusion of Art Schools. Our Schools of Art 
are confused by the various teaching and various interests 
that are now abroad among us. Everybody is talking about 
art, and writing about it, and more or less interested in it ; 
everybody wants art, and there is not art for everybody, 
and few who talk know what they are talking about ; 
thus students are led in all variable ways, while there is 
only one way in which they can make steady progress, for 
true art is always and will be always one. Whatever 
changes may be made in the customs of society, whatever 
new machines we may invent, whatever new manufactures 
we may supply, Fine Art must remain what it was two 
thousand years ago, in the days of Phidias ; two thousand 
years hence, it will be, in all its principles, and in all its 
great effects upon the mind of man, just the same. 
Observe this that I say, please, carefully, for I mean it to 
the very utmost. There is hut one right way of doing 
any given thing required of an artist / there may be a 
hundred wrong, deficient, or mannered ways, but there is 
only one complete and right way. Whenever two artists 
are trying to do the same thing with the same materials, 
and do it in different ways, one of them is wrong ; he may 
be charmingly wrong, or impressively wrong — various 
circumstances in his temper may make his wrong pleas- 
anter than any person's right ; it may for him, under his 


given limitations of knowledge or temper, be better perhaps 
that he should err in his own way than try for anybody 
else's — but for all that his way is wrong, and it is essential 
for all masters of schools to know what the right way is, 
and what right art is, and to see how simple and how 
single all right art has been, since the beginning of it. 

But farther, not only is there but one way of doing 
things rightly, but there is only one way of seeing them, 
and that is, seeing the whole of them, without any choice, 
or more intense perception of one point than another, 
owing to our special idiosyncrasies. Thus, w T hen Titian 
or Tintoret look at a human being, they see at a glance 
the whole of its nature, outside and in ; all that it has of 
form, of color, of passion, or of thought ; saintliness, and 
loveliness; fleshly body, and spiritual power; grace, or 
strength, or softness, or whatsoever other quality, those 
men will see to the full, and so paint, that, when narrower 
people come to look at what they have done, every one 
may, if he chooses, find his own special pleasure in the 
work. The sensualist will find sensuality in Titian ; the 
thinker will find thought ; the saint, sanctity ; the colourist, 
colour; the anatomist, form ; and yet the picture will never 
be a popular one in the full sense, for none of these narrow- 
er people will find their special taste so alone consulted, 
as that the qualities which would ensure their gratification 
shall be sifted or separated from others ; they are checked 
by the presence of the other qualities which ensure the 
gratification of other men. Thus, Titian is not soft enough 
for the sensualist, Correggio suits him better; Titian is 
not defined enough for the formalist, — Leonardo suits him 
better ; Titian is not pure enough for the religionist, — 
Raphael suits him better; Titian is not polite enough for 
the man of the world, — Vandyke suits him better; Titian 
is not forcible enough for the lovers of the picturesque, — ■ 
Rembrandt suits him better. So Correggio is popular 



with a certain set, and Vandyke with a certain set, and 
Rembrandt with a certain set. All are great men, but of 
inferior stamp, and therefore Yandyke is popular, and 
Rembrandt is popular,* but nobody cares much at heart 
about Titian; only there is a strange under-current of 
everlasting murmur about his name, which means the deep 
consent of all great men that he is greater than they — the 
consent of those who, having sat long enough at his feet, 
have found in that restrained harmony of his strength 
there are indeed depths of each balanced power more 
wonderful than all those separate manifestations in in- 
ferior painters: that there is a softness more exquisite 
than Correggio's, a purity loftier than Leonardo's, a force 
mightier than Rembrandt's, a sanctity more solemn even 
than Raff aelle's. 

Do not suppose that in saying this of Titian, I am return- 
ing to the old eclectic theories of Bologna ; for all those 
eclectic theories, observe, were based, not upon an endea- 
vour to unite the various characters of nature (which it is 
possible to do), but the various narrownesses of taste, which 
it is impossible to do. Rubens is not more vigorous than 
Titian, but less vigorous; but because he is so narrow- 
minded as to enjoy vigour only, he refuses to give the 
other qualities of nature, which would interfere with that 
vigour and with our perception of it. Again, Rembrandt 
is not a greater master of chiaroscuro than Titian ; — he is 
a less master, but because he is so narrow-minded as to 
enjoy chiaroscuro only, he withdraws from you the splen- 
dour of hue which would interfere with this, and gives 
you only the shadow in which you can at once feel it. 
Now all these specialties have their own charm in their 
own way; and there are times when the particular humour 

* And Murillo, of all true painters the narrowest, feeblest, and most 
superficial, for those reasons the most popular. 


of each man is refreshing to us from its very distinctness ; 
but the effort to add any other qualities to this refreshing 
one instantly takes away the distinctiveness, and therefore 
the exact character to be enjoyed in its appeal to a par- 
ticular humour in us. Our enjoyment arose from a weak 
ness meeting a weakness, from a partiality in the painter 
fitting to a partiality in us, and giving us sugar when we 
wanted sugar, and myrrh when we wanted myrrh; but 
sugar and myrrh are not meat : and when we want meat 
and bread, we must go to better men. 

TV. The eclectic schools endeavoured to unite these op- 
posite partialities and weaknesses. They trained them- 
selves under masters of exaggeration, and tried to unite 
opposite exaggerations. That was impossible. They did not 
see that the only possible eclecticism had been already ac- 
complished ; — the eclecticism of temperance, which, by the 
restraint of force, gains higher force ; and by the self-de- 
nial of delight, gains higher delight. This you will find 
is ultimately the case with every true and right master ; 
at first, while we are tyros in art, or before we have ear- 
nestly studied the man in question, we shall see little in 
him ; or perhaps see, as we think, deficiencies ; we shall 
fancy he is inferior to this man in that, and to the other 
man in the other ; but as we go on studying him we shall 
find that he has got both that and the other ; and both in 
a far higher sense than the man who seemed to possess 
those qualities in excess. Thus in Turner's lifetime, when 
people first looked at him, those who liked rainy weather, 
said he was not equal to Coj)ley Fielding ; but those who 
looked at- Turner long enough found that he could be 
much more wet than Copley Fielding, when he chose. The 
people who liked force, said that " Turner was not strong 
enough for them; he was effeminate; they liked De Whit, 
— nice strong tone ; — or Cox — great, greeny, dark masses 



of colour — solemn feeling of the freshness and depth of 
nature ; — they liked Cox — Turner was too hot for them." 
Had they looked long enough they would have found that 
he had far more force than De Whit, far more freshness 
than Cox when he chose, — only united with other ele- 
ments ; and that he didn't choose to be cool, if nature had 
appointed the weather to be hot. The people who liked 
Prout said " Turner had not firmness of hand — he did not 
know enough about architecture — he was not picturesque 
enough." Had they looked at his architecture long, they 
would have found that it contained subtle picturesque- 
nesses, infinitely more picturesque than anything of Prout's. 
People who liked Callcott said that " Turner was not cor- 
rect or pure enough — had no classical taste." Had they 
looked at Turner long enough they would have found him 
as severe, when he chose, as the greater Poussin ; — Call- 
cott, a mere vulgar imitator of other men's high breeding. 
And so throughout with all thoroughly great men, their 
strength is not seen at first, precisely because they unite, 
in due place and measure, every great quality. 

Now the question is, whether, as students, we are to 
study only these mightiest men, who unite all greatness, or 
whether we are to study the works of inferior men, who 
present us with the greatness which we particularly like? 
That question often comes before me when I see a strong 
idiosyncrasy in a student, and he asks me what he should 
study. Shall I send him to a true master, who does not 
present the quality in a prominent way in which that stu- 
dent delights, or send him to a man with whom he has 
direct sympathy % It is a hard question. For very curious 
results have sometimes been brought out, especially in late 
years, not only by students following their own bent, but 
by their being withdrawn from teaching altogether. 1 have 
just named a very great man in his own field — Prout. We 
all know his drawings, and love them : they have a pecu- 



liar character which no other architectural drawings ever 
possessed, and which no others can possess, because all 
Front's subjects are being knocked down or restored. 
(Prout did not like restored buildings any more than I do.) 
There will never be any more Prout drawings. Nor could 
he have been what he was, or expressed with that mys- 
teriously effective touch that peculiar delight in broken aud 
old buildings, unless he had been withdrawn from all high. 
art influence. You know that Prout was born of poor 
parents — that he was educated down in Cornwall ; — and 
that, for many years, all the art-teaching he had was his 
own, or the fishermen's. Under the keels of the fishing- 
boats, on the sands of our southern coasts, Prout learned 
all that he needed to learn about art. Entirely by himself, 
he felt his way to this particular style, and became the 
painter of pictures which I think we should all regret to lose. 
It becomes a very difficult question what that man would 
have been, had he been brought under some entirely whole- 
some artistic influence. He had immense gifts of composi- 
tion. I do not know any man who had more power of 
invention than Prout, or who had a sublimer instinct in 
his treatment of things; but being entirely withdrawn from 
all artistical help, he blunders his way to that short-com- 
ing representation, which, by the very reason of its short- 
coming, has a certain charm we should all be sorry to lose. 
And therefore I feel embarrassed when a student comes to 
me, in whom I see a strong instinct of that kind : and 
cannot tell whether I ought to say to him, " Give up all 
your studies of old boats, and keep away from the sea-shore, 
and come up to the Royal Academy in London, and look 
at nothing but Titian." It is a difficult thing to make up 
one's mind to say that. However, I believe, on the whole, 
we may wisely leave such matters in the hands of Provi- 
dence ; that if we have the power of teaching the right to 
anybody, we should teach them the right ; if we have the 



power of showing them the best thing, we should show 
them the best thing ; there will always, I fear, be enough 
want of teaching, and enough bad teaching, to bring out 
very curious erratical results if we want them. So, if we 
are to teach at all, let us teach the right thing, and ever the 
right thing. There are many attractive qualities incon- 
sistent with rightness; — do not let us teach them, — let us 
be content to waive them. There are attractive qualities 
in Burns, and attractive qualities in Dickens, which neither 
of those writers would have possessed if the one had been 
educated, and the other had been studying higher nature 
than that of cockney London ; but those attractive quali- 
ties are not such as we should seek in a school of literature. 
If we want to teach young men a good manner of writing, 
we should teach it from Shakspeare, — not from Burns ; 
from Walter Scott, — and not from Dickens. And I believe 
that our schools of painting are at present inefficient in 
their action, because they have not fixed on this high 
principle what are the painters to whom to point ; nor 
boldly resolved to point to the best, if determinable. It is 
becoming a matter of stern necessity that they should give 
a simple direction to the attention of the student, and that 
they should say, " This is the mark you are to aim at ; and 
you are not to go about to the print-shops, and peep in, to 
see how this engraver does that, and the other engraver 
does the other, and how a nice bit of character has been 
caught by a new man, and why this odd picture has caught 
the popular attention. You are to have nothing to do 
with all that; you are not to mind about popular attention 
just now ; but here is a thing which is eternally right and 
good : you are to look at that, and see if you cannot do 
something eternally right and good too." 

But suppose you accept this principle : and resolve to 
look to some great man, Titian, or Turner, or whomsoever 
it may be, as the model of perfection in art ; — then the 



question is, since this great man pursued his art in Yenice, 
or in the fields of England, under totally different condi- 
tions from those possible to us now — how are you to make 
your study of him effective here in Manchester? how bring 
it down into patterns, and all that you are called upon as 
operatives to produce? how make it the means of your 
livelihood, and associate inferior branches of art with this 
great art? That may become a serious doubt to you. 
You may think there is some other way of producing 
clever, and pretty, and saleable patterns than going to 
look at Titian, or any other great man. 

And that brings me to the question, perhaps the most 
vexed question of all amongst us just now, between con- 
ventional and perfect art. You know that among 
architects and artists there are, and have been almost 
always, since art became a subject of much discussion, 
two parties, one maintaining that nature should be always 
altered and modified, and that the artist is greater than 
nature ; they do not maintain, indeed, in words, but they 
maintain in idea, that the artist is greater than the Di- 
vine Maker of these things, and can improve them ; while 
the other party say that he cannot improve nature, and 
that nature on the whole should improve him. That is 
the real meaning of the two parties, the essence of them ; 
the practical result of their several theories being that 
the Idealists are always producing more or less formal 
conditions of art, and the Realists striving to produce 
in all their art either some image of nature, or record 
of nature ; these, observe, being quite different things, 
the image being a resemblance, and the record, some- 
thing which will give information about nature, but not 
necessarily imitate it.* 

* The portion of the lecture here omitted was a recapitulation of that 
part of the previous one which opposed conventional art to natural art. 



* -X- * * * •» 

You may separate these two groups of artists more dis- 
tinctly in your mind as those who seek for the pleasure of 
art, in the relations of its colours and lines, without caring 
to convey any truth with it ; and those who seek for the 
truth first, and then go down from the truth to the pleasure 
of colour and line. Marking those two bodies distinctly 
as separate, and thinking over them, you may come to some 
rather notable conclusions respecting the mental disposi- 
tions which are involved in each mode of study. You will 
find that large masses of the art of the world fall definitely 
under one or the other of these heads. Observe, pleasure 
first and truth afterwards, (or not at all,) as with the Ara- 
bians and Indians ; or, truth first and pleasure afterwards, 
as with Angelico and all other great European painters. 
You will find that the art whose end is pleasure only is pre- 
eminently the gift of cruel and savage nations, cruel in tem- 
per, savage in habits and conception ; but that the art which 
is especially dedicated to natural fact always indicates a 
peculiar gentleness and tenderness of mind, and that all 
great and successful work of that kind will assuredly be 
the production of thoughtful, sensitive, earnest, kind men, 
large in their views of life, and full of various intellectual 
power. And farther, when you examine the men in whom 
the gifts of art are variously mingled, or universally 
mingled, you will discern that the ornamental, or pleasura- 
ble power, though it may be possessed by good men, is not 
in itself an indication of their goodness, but is rather, un- 
less balanced by other faculties, indicative of violence of 
temper, inclining to cruelty and to irreligion. On the 
other hand, so sure as you find any man endowed with a 
keen and separate faculty of representing natural fact, so 
surely you will find that man gentle and upright, full of 
nobleness and breadth of thought. I will give you two 
instances, the first peculiarly English, and another pecu- 



liarly interesting, because it occurs among a nation not 
generally very kind or gentle. 

I am inclined to think that, considering all the disad- 
vantages of circumstances and education under which his 
genius was developed, there was perhaps hardly ever born 
a man with a more intense and innate gift of insight into 
nature than our own Sir Joshua Reynolds. Considered as 
a painter of individuality in the human form and mind, 
I think him, even as it is, the prince of portrait painters. 
Titian paints nobler pictures, and Vandyke had nobler 
subjects, but neither of them entered so subtly as Sir 
Joshua did into the minor varieties of human heart and 
temper ; and when you consider that, with a frightful 
conventionality of social habitude all around him, he yet 
conceived the simplest types of all feminine and childish 
loveliness ; — that in a northern climate, and with gray, 
and white, and black, as the principal colours around him, 
he yet became a colourist who can be crushed by none, 
even of the Venetians ; — and that with Dutch painting 
and Dresden china for the prevailing types of art in the 
saloons of his day, he threw himself at once at the feet of 
the great masters of Italy, and arose from their feet to 
share their throne — I know not that in the whole history 
of art you can produce another instance of so strong, so 
unaided, so unerring an instinct for all that was true, 
pure, and noble. Two Paths, Lect. 11. 

V. Rank of Art Schools, from a Love of the Beau- 
tiful. — Schools of art become higher in exact projxjr- 
tion to the degree in which they apprehend and love the 

1st Rank. — Thus Angelico, intensely loving all spiritual 
beauty, will be of the highest rank. 

2d Rank. — Paul Veronese and Correggio, intensely lov- 
ing physical and corporeal beauty, of the second rank. 



3d Rank.— Albert Durer, Rubens, and in general the 
Northern artists, apparently insensible to beauty, and 
caring only for truth, whether shapely or not, of the third 

No certain Rank. — Teniers, Salvator and Carravaggio, 
and other such worshippers of the depraved, of no rank, 
or, as we said before, of a certain order in the abyss. 

3M. P.,34. 

VI. Rank of Art Schools, from Character of Subject. — 
(1.) The habitual choice of sacred subjects, such as the Na- 
tivity, Transfiguration, Crucifixion (if the choice be sin- 
cere), implies that the painter has a natural disposition to 
dwell on the highest thoughts of which humanity is capa- 
ble ; it constitutes him so far forth a painter of the highest 
order, as, for instance, Leonardo, in his painting of the 
Last Supper. 

(2.) He who delights in representing the acts or medita- 
tions of great men, as, for instance, Raphael painting the 
School of Athens, is so far forth a painter of the second 

(3.) He who represents the passions and events of ordi- 
nary life, is of the third order. 

(4.) In this ordinary life, he who represents deep thoughts 
and sorrows, as, for instance, Hunt, in his Claudia and Isa- 
bella, and such other works, is of the highest rank in his 

(5.) He who represents the slight malignities and pas- 
sions of the drawing room, as, for instance, Leslie, is of 
still another rank. 

(6.) He who represents the sports of boys, or the sim- 
plicities of clowns, as Webster or Teniers, is still of another 

(7.) He who represents vices and brutalities, of no hon- 
orable rank. 



VII. Corruption of Art Schools. — Yet the corrup- 
tion of the schools of high art, so far as this particular 
quality is concerned, consists in the sacrifice of truth to 
beauty. Great art dwells on all that is beautiful ; false art 
omits or changes all that is ugly. Great art accepts nature 
as she is, but directs the eyes and thoughts to what is 
most perfect in her; false art saves itself the trouble of 
direction, by removing or altering whatever it thinks ob- 
jectionable. The evil results of which are manifold : — 

Beauty deprived of its proper foils and adjuncts 
ceases to be enjoyed as beauty, just as light deprived of 
all shadow ceases to be enjoyed as light. A white can- 
vas cannot produce an effect of sunshine; the painter 
must darken it in some places before he can make it look 
luminous in others ; nor can an uninterrupted succession 
of beauty produce the true effect of beauty ; it must be 
foiled by inferiority before its own power can be devel- 
oped. Nature has, for the most part, mingled her inferior 
and nobler elements as she mingles sunshine with shade, 
giving due use and influence to both, and the painter who 
chooses to remove the shadow perishes in the burning 
desert he has created. The truly high and beautiful art 
of Angelico is continually refreshed and strengthened 
by his frank portraiture of the most ordinary features of 
his brother monks, and of the recorded peculiarities of un- 
gainly sanctity; but the modern German and Paphael- 
esque schools lose all honor and nobleness in barber-like 
admiration of handsome faces, and have, in fact, no real 
faith except in straight noses and curled hair. Paul Ver- 
onese opposes the dwarf to the soldier, and the negress to 
the queen; Shakespeare places Caliban beside Miranda, and 
Autolycus beside Perdita; but the vulgar idealist with- 
draws his beauty to the safety of the saloon, and his inno- 
cence to the safety of the cloister; he pretends that he 
does this in delicacy of choice and purity of sentiment, 



while, in truth, he has neither courage to front the mon- 
ster nor wit to furnish the knave. Dwelling upon one 
class of ideas, his art becomes at once monstrous and mor- 
bid. High and un corrupted art consists neither in alter- 
ing nor improving nature. 3 M. P., 34. 

VIII. The Great Masters. — I will now name the masters 
whom I think it would be well if we could agree, in our 
Schools of Art in England, to consider our leaders. The 
first and chief I will not myself presume to name ; 
he shall be distinguished for you by the authority of 
those two great painters of whom we have just been 
speaking — Reynolds and Velasquez. You may remem- 
ber that in your Manchester Art Treasures Exhibition 
the most impressive things were the works of those 
two men — nothing told upon the eye so much ; no other 
pictures retained it with such a persistent power. Kow, 
I have the testimony, first of Reynolds to Velasquez, and 
then of Velasquez to the man whom I want you to take 
as the master of all your English schools. The testimony 
of Reynolds to Velasquez is very striking. I take it from 
some fragments which have just been published by Mr. 
William Cotton — precious fragments — of Reynolds' 
diaries, which I chanced upon luckily as I was coming- 
down here : for I was going to take Velasquez' testimony 
alone, and then fell upon this testimony of Reynolds to 
Velasquez, written most fortunately in Reynolds' own 
hand — you may see the' manuscript. " What we are all," 
said Reynolds, " attempting to do with great labor, Velas- 
quez does at once? Just think what is implied when a 
man of the enormous power and facility that Reynolds 
had, says he was "trying to do with great labor" what 
Velasquez " did at once." 

Having thus Reynolds' testimony to Velasquez, I will 
take Velasquez' testimony to somebody else. You know 


that Yelasquez was sent by Philip of Spain to Italy, to 
buy pictures for him. He went all over Italy, saw the 
living artists there, and all their best pictures when freshly 
painted, so that he had every opportunity of judging; and 
never was a man so capable of judging. He went to Rome 
and ordered various works of living artists; and while 
there, he was one day asked by Salvator Rosa what he 
thought of Raphael. His reply, and the ensuing conversa- 
tion, are thus reported by Boschini, in curious Italian 
verse, which, thus translated by Dr. Donaldson, is quoted 
in Mr. Stirling's Life of Velasquez : — 

" The master" [Yelasquez] "stiffly bowed his figure tall 
And said, ' For Rafael, to speak the truth — 
I always was plain-spoken from my youth — 
I cannot say I like his works at all.' 

u ' Well/ said the other " [Salvator], " ' if you can run down 
So great a man, I really cannot see 
What you can find to like in Italy ; 
To him we all agree to give the crown.' 

" Diego answered thus : ' I saw in Venice 
The true test of the good and beautiful ; 
First in my judgment, ever stands that school, 
And Titian first of all Italian men is.' " 

" Tizian ze quel die porta la handier a." 

Learn that line by heart, and act, at all events for some 
time to come, upon Yelasquez' opinion in the matter. 
Titian is much the safest master for you. Raphael's pow- 
er, such as it was, and great as it was, depended wholly 
upon transcendental characters in his mind ; it is " Ra- 
phaelesque," properly so called ; but Titian's power is 
simply the power of doing right. Whatever came before 
Titian, he did wholly as it ought to be done. Do not 
suppose that now in recommending Titian to you so strong- 
ly, and speaking of nobody else to-night, I am retreating 


in anywise from what some of you may perhaps recollect in 
my works, the enthusiasm with which I have always spo- 
ken of another Venetian painter. There are three Vene- 
tians who are never separated "in my mind — Titian, 
Veronese, and Tin tore t. They all have their own un- 
equalled gifts, and Tintoret especially has imagination 
and depth of soul which I think renders him indisputably 
the greatest man / but, equally indisputably, Titian is the 
greatest painter } ' and therefore the greatest painter who 
ever lived. You may be led wrong by Tintoret # in many 
respects, wrong by Raphael in more ; all that you learn 
from Titian will be right. Then, with Titian, take Leo- 
nardo, Rembrandt, and Albert Durer. I name those three 
masters for this reason : Leonardo has powers of subtle 
drawing which are peculiarly applicable in many ways to 
the drawing of fine ornament, and are very useful for all 
students. Rembrandt and Durer are the only men whose 
actual work of hand you can have to look at ; you can 
have Rembrandt's etchings, or Durer's engravings actual- 
ly hung in your schools ; and it is a main point for the 
student to see the real thing, and avoid judging of masters 
at second-hand. As, however, in obeying this principle, 
you cannot often have opportunities of studying Venetian 
painting, it is desirable that you should have a useful 
standard of colour, and I think it possible for you to ob- 
tain this. I cannot, indeed, without entering upon ground 
which might involve the hurting the feelings of living ar- 
tists, state exactly what I believe to be the relative posi- 
tion of various painters in England at present with respect 
to power of colour. But I may say this, that in the pecu- 
liar gifts of colour which will be useful to you as students, 
there are only one or two of the pre-Raphaelites, and Wil- 
liam Hunt, of the old Water Colour Society, who would 

* See Appendix I. — " Eight and Wrong." 


be safe guides for you ; and as quite a safe guide, there is 
nobody but William Hunt, because the pre-Raphaelites are 
all more or less affected by enthusiasm and by various 
morbid conditions of intellect and temper ; but old Wil- 
liam Hunt — I am sorry to say " old," but I say it in a 
loving way, for every year that has added to his life has 
added also to his skill — William Hunt is as right as the 
Venetians, as far as he goes, and what is more, nearly as 
inimitable as they. And I think if we manage to put in 
the principal schools of England a little bit of Hunt's 
work, and make that somewhat of a standard of colour, 
that we can apply his principles of colouring to subjects of 
all kinds. Until you have had a work of his long near 
you ; nay, unless you have been labouring at it, and try- 
ing to copy it, you do not know the thoroughly grand 
qualities that are concentrated in it. Simplicity, and in- 
tensity, both of the highest character ; — simplicity of aim, 
and intensity of power and success, are involved in that 
man's unpretending labour. 

Finally, you cannot believe that I would omit my own fa- 
vourite, Turner. 1 fear from the very number of his works 
left to the nation, that there is a disposition now rising to 
look upon his vast bequest with some contempt. I beg of 
you, if in nothing else, to believe me in this, that you can- 
not further the art of England in any way more distinctly 
than by giving attention to every fragment that has been 
left by that man. The time will come when his full pow- 
er and right place will be acknowledged ; that time will 
not be for many a day yet : nevertheless, be assured — as 
far as you are inclined to give the least faith to anything 
I may say to you, be assured — that you can act for the 
good of art in England in no better way than by using 
whatever influence any of you have in any direction to 
urge the reverent study and yet more reverent preservation 
of the works of Turner. I do not say " the exhibition " 


of his works, for we are not altogether ripe for it : they 
are still too far above us ; uniting, as I was telling you, 
too many qualities for us to yet feel fully their range and 
their influence ; — but let us only try to keep them safe 
from harm, and show thoroughly and conveniently what 
we show of them at all, and day by day their greatness 
will dawn upon us more and more, and be the root of a 
school of art in England, which I do not doubt may be as 
bright, as just, and as refined as even that of Venice her- 
self. The dominion of the sea seems to have been associ- 
ated, in past time, with dominion in the arts also : Athens 
had them together ; Venice had them together ; but by 
so much as our authority over the ocean is wider than 
theirs over the ^Egean or Adriatic, let us strive to make 
our art more widely beneficent than theirs, though it can- 
not be more exalted ; so working out the fulfilment, in 
their wakening as well as their warning sense, of those 
great words of the aged Tintoret : 

"Sempre si fa il Mare Maggiore." 

Two Paths, Lecfc. 11. 



I. Art Language. — Painting, or an generally, as snch, 
with all its technicalities, difficulties, and particular ends, 
is nothing but a noble and expressive language, invaluable 
as the vehicle of thought, but by itself nothing. He who 
has learned what is commonly considered the whole art 
of painting, that is, the art of representing any natural 
object faithfully, has as yet only learned the language by 
which his thoughts are to be expressed. He has done just 
as much towards being that which we ought to respect as 
a great painter, as a man who has learned how to express 
himself grammatically and melodiously has towards being 
a great poet. The language is, indeed, more difficult of 
acquirement in the one case than in the other, and possesses 
more power of delighting the sense, while it speaks to the 
intellect, but it is, nevertheless, nothing more than lan- 
guage, and all those excellences which are peculiar to the 
painter as such, are merely what rhythm, melody, precision 
and force are in the words of the orator and poet, neces- 
sary to their greatness, but not the tests of their greatness. 
It is not by the mode of representing and saying, but by 
what is represented and said, that the respective great- 
ness either of the painter or the writer is to be finally deter- 

Speaking with strict propriety, therefore, we should call 
a man a great painter only as he excelled in precision and 
force in the language of lines, and a great versifier, as he 
excelled in precision or force in the language of words. 
A great poet would then be a term strictly, and in pre- 



cisely the same sense applicable to both, if warranted by 
the character of the images or thoughts which each in 
their respective languages conveyed. 

II. Art Thoughts. — Take, for instance, one of the most 
perfect poems or pictures (I use the words as synonymous) 
which modern times have seen: — the "Old Shepherd's 
Chief -mourner." Here the exquisite execution of the 
glossy and crisp hair of the dog, the bright sharp touching 
of the green bough beside it, the clear painting of the 
wood of the coffin and the folds of the blanket, are lan- 
guage — language clear and expressive in the highest degree. 
But the close pressure of the dog's breast against the wood, 
the convulsive clinging of the paws, which has dragged 
the blanket off the trestle, the total powerlessness of the 
head laid close and motionless, upon its folds, the fixed 
and tearful fall of the eye in its utter hopelessness, the 
rigidity of repose which marks that there has been no 
motion nor change in the trance of agony since the last 
blow was struck on the coffin-lid, the quietness and gloom 
of the chamber, the spectacles marking the place where 
the Bible was last closed, indicating how lonely has been 
the life — how un watched the departure of him who is now 
laid solitary in his sleep ; — these are all thoughts — thoughts 
by which the picture is separated at once from hundreds 
of equal merit, as far as mere painting goes, by which it 
ranks as a work of high art, and stamps its author, not as 
the neat imitator of the texture of a skin, or the fold of a 
drapery, but as the Man of Mind. 

It is not, however, always easy, either in painting or 
literature, to determine where the influence of language 
stops, and where that of thought begins. Many thoughts 
are so dependent upon the language in which they are 
clothed, that they would lose half their beauty if other- 
wise expressed. But the highest thoughts are those which 



are least dependent on language, and the dignity of any 
composition and praise to which it is entitled, are in exact 
proportion to its independency of language or expres- 
sion. A composition is indeed usually most perfect, when 
to such intrinsic dignity is added all .that expression can 
do to attract and adorn ; but in every case of supreme 
excellence this all becomes as nothing. We are more 
gratified by the simplest lines or words which can sug- 
gest the idea in its own naked beauty, than by the robe 
or the gem which conceal while they decorate ; we are 
better pleased to feel by their absence how little they 
could bestow, than by their presence how much they can 

There is therefore a distinction to be made between 
what is ornamental in language and what is expressive. 
That part of it which is necessary to the embodying and 
conveying the thought is worthy of respect and attention 
as necessary to excellence, though not the test of it. But 
that part of it which is decorative has little more to do 
with the intrinsic excellence of the picture than the 
frame or the varnishing of it. And this caution in dis- 
tinguishing hetween the ornamental and the expressive is 
peculiarly necessary in painting ; for in the language of 
words it is nearly impossible for that which is not expres- 
sive to be beautiful, except by mere rhythm or melody, 
any sacrifice to which is immediately stigmatized as error. 
But the beauty of mere language in painting is not only 
very attractive and entertaining to the spectator, but re- 
quires for its attainment no small exertion of mind and 
devotion of time by the artist. Hence, in art, men have 
frecpiently fancied that they were becoming rhetoricians 
and poets when they were only learning to speak melo- 
diously, and the judge has over and over again advanced 
to the honor of authors those who were never more than 
ornamental writing masters. 



Most pictures of the Dutch school, for instance, except- 
ing always those of Rubens, Vandyke, and Rembrandt, 
are ostentatious exhibitions of the artist's power of speech, 
the clear and vigorous elocution of useless and senseless 
words : while the early efforts of Cimabue and Giotto are 
the burning messages of prophecy, delivered by the stam- 
mering lips of infants. It is not by ranking the former 
as more than mechanics, or the latter as less than artists, 
that the taste of the multitude, always awake to the lowest 
pleasures which art can bestow, and blunt to the highest, 
is to be formed or elevated. It must be the part of the 
judicious critic carefully to distinguish what is language, 
and what is thought, and to rank and praise pictures 
chiefly for the latter, considering the former as a totally 
inferior excellence, and one which cannot be compared 
with nor weighed against thought in any way nor in any 
degree whatsoever. The picture which has the nobler and 
more numerous ideas, however awkwardly expressed, is 
a greater and a better picture than that which has the less 
noble and less numerous ideas, however beautifully ex- 
pressed. ~No weight, nor mass, nor beauty of execution 
can outweigh, one grain or fragment of thought. Three 
penstrokes of Raffaelle are a greater and a better picture 
than the most finished work that ever Carlo Dolci polished 
into inanity. A finished work of a great artist is only 
better than its sketch, if the sources of pleasure belonging 
to colour and realization — valuable in themselves, — are so 
employed as to increase the impressiveness of the thought. 
But if one atom of thought has vanished, all color, all 
finish, all execution, all ornament, are too dearly bought. 
Nothing but thought can pay for thought, and the instant 
that the increasing refinement or finish of the picture be 
gins to be paid for by the loss of the faintest shadow of 
an idea, that instant all refinement or finish is an ex- 
crescence and a deformity. 1 M. P., 10-11. 



III. Art Laws. — There are laws of truth and right in 
painting, just as lixed as those of harmony in music, or of 
affinity in chemistry. Those laws are perfectly ascertain- 
able by labour, and ascertainable no otherwise. It is as 
ridiculous for any one to speak positively about painting 
who has not given a great part of his life to its study, as it 
would be for a person who had never studied chemistry to 
lecture on affinities of elements. Pref. 3 M. P. 

While in painting, much knowledge of what is technical 
and practical is necessary to a right judgment, and while 
every great composition is in perfect harmony with all 
true rules, and involves thousands too delicate for eye, 
ear, or thought to trace; while it is possible to reason, 
with infinite pleasure and profit, about these principles, 
when the thing is once done, yet all our reasoning will 
not enable any one to do another, thing like it, because all 
reasoning falls infinitely short of a divine instinct. Thus 
we may reason wisely over the way a bee builds its comb, 
and be profited by finding out certain things about the 
angles of it. But the bee knows nothing about the mat- 
ter. It builds its comb in a far more inevitable way. 
And, from a bee to Paul Veronese, all master-workers 
work with this awful, this inspired unconsciousness. 

3 M. P., 89. 



§ 1. Abstract beauty of form is supposed to depend on 
continually varied curvatures of line and surface, associ- 
ated so as to produce an effect of some 
unity among themselves, and opposed, 
in order to give them value, by more or 
less straight or rugged lines. 

The reader will, perhaps, here ask 
why, if both the straight and curved 
lines are necessary, one should be con- 
sidered more beautiful than the other. 
Exactly as we consider light beautiful 
and darkness ugly, in the abstract, 
though both are essential to all beauty; 
Darkness mingled with colour gives the 
delight of its depth or power; even 
pure blackness, in spots or chequered 
patterns, is often exquisitely delightful ; 
and yet we do not therefore consider, m 
the abstract, blackness to be beautiful. 

Just in the same way straightness 
mingled with curvature, that is to say, 
the close approximation of part of any 
curve to a straight line, gives to such 
curve all its spring, power, and noble- 
ness: and even perfect straightness, 
limiting curves, or opposing them, is 
Fig. i.' often pleasurable : yet, in the abstract, 

straightness is always ugly, and curvature.always beautiful. 



Tims, in the opposite figure (Fig. 1), the eye will 
instantly prefer the semicircle to the straight line ; the tre- 
foil (composed of three semicircles) to the triangle ; and 
the cinqfoil to the pentagon. The mathematician 
may perhaps feel an opposite preference ; but he 
must be conscious that he does so under the influence 
of feelings quite different from those with which he 
would admire (if he ever does admire) a picture or sta- 
tue ; and that if he could free himself from those associa- 
tions, his judgment of the relative agreeableness of the 
forms would be altered. He may rest assured that, by the 
natural instinct of the eye and thought, the preference is 
given instantly, and always, to the curved form; and that 
no human being of unprejudiced perceptions would desire 
to substitute triangles for the ordinary shapes of clover 
leaves, or pentagons for those of potentillas. 

§ 2. All curvature, however, is not equally agreeable ; 
but the examination of laws which render one curve more 
beautiful than another, would, if carried out to any com- 
pleteness, alone require a volume. The following few 
examples will be enough to put the reader in the way of 
pursuing the subject for himself. 

Take any number of lines, a b, b c, c d, &c, Fig. 2, 



bearing any fixed proportion to each other. In this figure, 
b c is one-third longer than a b, and c d than b c, and so 
on. Arrange them in succession, keeping the inclination, 
or angle, which each makes with the preceding one always 
the same. Then a curve drawn through the extremities 
of the lines will be a beautiful curve ; for it is governed 
by consistent laws ; every part of it is connected by those 
laws with every other, yet every part is different from 
every other ; and the mode of its construction implies the 
possibility of its continuance to infinity ; it would never 
return upon itself though prolonged for ever. These 
characters must be possessed by every perfectly beautiful 

Fig. 3. 

If we make the difference between the component or 
measuring lines less, as in Fig. 3, in which each line is 
longer than the preceding one only by a fifth, the curve 



will be more contracted and less beautiful. If we enlarge 
the difference, as in Fig. 4, in which each line is double 
the preceding one, the curve will suggest a more rapid 
proceeding into infinite space, and will be more beautiful. 
Of two curves, the same in other respects, that which sug- 
gests the quickest attainment of infinity is always the 
most beautiful. 

Fig. 4. 

§ 3. These three curves being all governed by the same 
general law, with a difference only in dimensions of lines, 
together with all the other curves so constructible, varied 
as they may be infinitely, either by changing the lengths of 
line, or the inclination of the lines to each other, are con- 
sidered by mathematicians only as one curve, having this 
peculiar character about it, different from that of most 
other infinite lines, that any portion of it is a magnified 
repetition of the preceding portion ; that is to say, the 
portion between e and g is precisely what that between e 
and e would look, if seen through a lens which magnified 
somewhat more than twice. There is therefore a peculiar 

equanimity and harmony about the look of lines of this 


kind, differing, I think, from the expression of any others 
except the circle. Beyond the point a the curve may be 
imagined to continue to an infinite degree of smallness, 
always circling nearer and nearer to a point, which, how- 
ever, it can never reach. 

§ 4. Again : if, along the horizontal line, A b, Fig. 5 
opposite, we measure any number of equal distances, a h, 
b c, &c, and raise perpendiculars from the points b, c, d, 
&c, of which each perpendicular shall be longer, by some 
given proportion (in this figure it is one third), than the 
preceding one, the curve x y, traced through their extremi- 
ties, will continually change its direction, but will advance 
into space in the direction of y as long as we continue to 
measure distances along the line a b, always inclining 
more and more to the nature of a straight line, yet never 
becoming one, even if continued to infinity. It would, in 
like manner, continue to infinity in the direction of x, 
always approaching the line a b, yet never touching it. 

§ 5. Am infinite number of different lines, more or less 
violent in curvature according to the measurements we 
adopt in designing them, are included, or defined, by each 
of the laws just explained. But the number of these laws 
themselves is also infinite. There is no limit to the multi- 
tude of conditions which may be invented, each producing 
a group of curves of a certain common nature. Some of 
these laws, indeed, produce single curves, which, like the 
circle, can vary only in size; but, for the most part, they 
vary also, like lines we have just traced, in the rapidity of 
their curvature. Among these innumerable lines, however, 
there is one source of difference in character which divides 
them, infinite as they are in number, into two great classes. 
The first class consists of those which are limited in their 
course, either ending abruptly, or returning to some point 
from which they set out ; the second class, of those lines 
whose nature is to proceed for ever into space. Any por- 



tion of a circle, for instance, is, by the law of its bein 
compelled, if it continue its 

course, to return to the point V 
from which it set out ; so also 
any portion of the oval curve 
(called an ellipse), produced by 
cutting a cylinder obliquely 
across. And if a single point 
be marked on the rim of a car- 
riage wheel, this point, as the 
wheel rolls along the road, will 
trace a curve in the air from 
one part of the road to another, 
which is called a cycloid, and 
to which the law of its existence 
appoints that it shall always 
follow a similar course, and be 
terminated by the level line on 
which the wheel rolls. All 
such curves are of inferior 
beauty : and the curves winch 
are incapable of being com- 
pletely drawn, because, as in 
the two cases above given, the 
law of their being supposes 
them to proceed for ever into 
space, are of a higher beauty. 

§ 6. Thus, in the very first 
elements of form, a lesson is 
given us as to the true source 
of the nobleness and choosea- 
bleness of all things. The two 
classes of curves thus sternly 
separated from each other, may 
most properly be distinguished 

Fig. 5. 

as the "Mortal and Im- 



mortal Curves ; " the one having an appointed term of 
existence, the other absolutely incomprehensible and 
endless, only to be seen or grasped during a certain 
moment of their course. And it is found univer- 
sally that the class to which the human mind is at- 
tached for its chief enjoyment are the Endless or Immor- 
tal lines. 

§ 7. " Nay," but the reader answers, " what right have 
you to say that one class is more beautiful than the other % 
Suppose I like the finite curves best, who shall say which 
of us is right % " 

No one. It is simply a question of experience. You 
will not, I think, continue to like the finite curves best as 
you contemplate them carefully, and compare them with 
the others. And if you should do so, it then yet becomes 
a question to be decided by longer trial, or more widely 
canvassed opinion. And when we find on examination 
that every form which, by the consent of human kind, has 
been received as lovely, in vases, flowing ornaments, em- 
broideries, and all other things dependent on abstract line, 
is composed of these infinite curves, and that Nature uses 
them for every important contour, small or large, which 
she desires to recommend to human observance, we shall 
not, I think, doubt that preference of such lines is a sign 
of healthy taste, and true instinct. 

§ 8. I am not sure, however, how far the delightf illness 
of such line, is owing, not merely to their expression of 
infinity, but also to that of restraint or moderation. Com- 
pare Stones of Venice, vol. iii. chap. i. § 9, where the sub- 
ject is entered into at some length. Certainly the beauty 
of such curvature is owing, in a considerable degree, to 
both expressions ; but when the line is sharply terminated, 
perhaps more to that of moderation than of infinity. For 
the most part, gentle or subdued sounds, and gentle or 
subdued colours, are more pleasing than either in their ut- 



most force ; nevertheless, in all the noblest compositions, 
this utmost power is permitted, but only for a short time, 
or over a small space. Music must rise to its utmost loud- 
ness, and fall from it ; colour must be gradated to its ex- 
treme brightness, and descend from it ; and I believe that 
absolutely perfect treatment would, in either case, permit 
the intensest sound and purest colour only for a point or 
for a moment. 

Curvature is regulated by precisely the same laws. For 
the most part, delicate or slight curvature is more agree- 
able than violent or rapid curvature ; nevertheless, in the 
best compositions, violent curvature is permitted, but per- 
mitted only over small spaces in the curve. 

§ 9. The right line is to the curve what monotony is 
to melody, and what unvaried colour is to gradated colour. 
And as often the sweetest music is so low and continuous 
as to approach a monotone; and as often the sweetest 
gradations so delicate and subdued as to approach to "flat- 
ness, so the finest curves are apt to hover about the right 
line, nearly coinciding with it for a long space of their 
curve ; never absolutely losing their own curvilinear 
character, but apparently every moment on the point of 
merging into the right line. When this is the case, the 
line generally returns into vigorous curvature at some 
part of its course, otherwise it is apt to be weak, or 
slightly rigid ; multitudes of other curves, not ap- 
proaching the right line so nearly, remain less vigor- 
ously bent in the rest of their course ; so that the quan- 
tity " x " of curvature is the same in both, though differently 

* Quantity of curvature is as measurable as quantity of any thing- 
else ; only observe that it depends on the nature of the line, not on its 
magnitude ; thus, in simple circular curvature, a b, Fig, 7, being the 
fourth of a large circle, and b c the half of a smaller one, the quantity 
of the element of circular curvature in the entire line a c is three-fourths 
of that in any circle, — the same as the quantity in the line ef. 



§ 10. The modes in which Nature produces variable 
curves on a large scale are very numerous, but may gene- 
rally be resolved into the gra- 
dual increase or diminution of 
some given force. Thus, if a 
chain hangs between two 
points a and b, Fig. 6, the 
weight of chain sustained by 
any given link increases gradu- 
ally from the central link at c, 
which has only its own weight 
to sustain, to the link at b, 
which sustains, besides its own, 
the weight of all the links be- 
tween it and c. This increased 
weight is continually pulling 
the curve of the swinging 
chain more nearly straight as 
it ascends towards b ; and 
hence one of the most beauti- 
fully gradated natural curves 
Fig. 6. — called the catenary — of 

course assumed not by chains only, but by all flexible and 
elongated substances, suspended between two points. If 
the points of suspension be near each other, we have such 
as at d ; and if, as in nine cases out of ten will be the 
case, one point of suspension is lower than the other, a 
still more varied and beautiful curve is formed, as at e. 
Such curves constitute nearly the whole beauty of gene- 
ral contour in falling drapery, tendrils and festoons of 
weeds over rocks, and such other pendent objects.* 

* The catenary is not properly a curve capable of infinity, if its di- 
rection does not alter with its length ; but it is capable of infinity, 
implying such alteration by the infinite removal of the points of suspen- 
sion. It entirely corresponds in its effect on the eye and mind to the 



§ 11. Again. If any object be cast into the air, the 
force with which it is cast dies gradually away, and its 
own weight brings it downwards ; at first slowly, then 
faster and faster every moment, in a curve which, as the 
line of fall necessarily nears the perpendicular, is continu- 
ally approximating to a straight line. This curve — called 
the parabola — is that of all projected or bounding objects. 

Tig. 7. 

§ 12. Again. If a rod or stick of any kind gradually 
becomes more slender or more flexible, and is bent by any 
external force, the force will not only increase in effect as 
the rod becomes weaker, but the rod itself, once bent, will 
continually yield more willingly, and be more easily bent 
farther in the same direction, and will thus show a con- 
tinual increase of curvature from its thickest or most 
rigid part to its extremity. This kind of line is that as- 
sumed by boughs of trees under wind. 

§ 13. Again. Whenever any vital force is impressed on 
any organic substance, so as to die gradually away as the 
substance extends, an infinite curve is commonly produced 

infinite curves. I do not know the exact nature of the apparent curves 
of suspension formed by a high and weighty waterfall ; they are de- 
pendent on the gain in rapidity of descent by the central current, where 
its greater body is less arrested by the air ; and I apprehend, are cate- 
nary in character, though not in cause. 



by its outline. Thus, in the budding of the leaf, already 
examined, the gradual dying away of the exhilaration of 
the younger ribs produces an infinite curve in the outline 
of the leaf, which sometimes fades imperceptibly into a 
right line, — sometimes is terminated sharply, by meeting 
the opposite curve at the point of the leaf. 

§ 14. Nature, however, rarely condescends to use one 
curve only in any of her finer forms. She almost always 
unites two infinite ones, so as to form a reversed curve 
for each main line, and then modulates each of them into 
myriads of minor ones. In a single elm leaf, such as Fig. 
4, Plate 8, she uses three such — one for the stalk, and one 
for each of the sides, — to regulate their general flow ; di- 
viding afterwards each of their broad lateral lines into 
some twenty less curves by the jags of the leaf, and then 
again into minor waves. Thus, in any complicated group 
of leaves whatever, the infinite curves are themselves al- 
most countless. In a single extremity of a magnolia 
spray, the uppermost figure in Plate 2, including only 
sixteen leaves, each leaf having some three to five distinct 
curves along its edge, the lines for separate study, includ- 
ing those of the stems, would be between sixty and eighty. 
In a single spring-shoot of laburnum, the lower figure in 
the same plate, I leave the reader to count them for him- 
self; all these, observe, being seen at one view only, and 
every change of position bringing into sight another equal- 
ly numerous set of curves. For instance, in Plate 3, is a 
group of four withered leaves, in four positions, giving, 
each, a beautiful and well composed group of curves, 
variable gradually into the next group as the branch is 

§ 15. The following Plate (4), representing a young 
shoot of independent ivy, just beginning to think it would 
like to get something to cling to, shows the way in which 
Nature brings subtle curvature into forms that at first 



seem rigid. The stems of the young leaves look nearly 
straight, and the sides of the projecting points, or bastions, 
of the leaves themselves nearly so ; but on examination it 
Avill be found that there is not a stem nor a leaf-edge but 
is a portion of one inlinite curve, if not of two or three. 
The main line of the supporting stem is a very lovely one ; 
and the little half -opened leaves, in their thirteenth-century 
segmental simplicity (compare Fig. 9, Plate 8 in Yol. III.), 
singularly spirited and beautiful. It may, perhaps, in- 
terest the general reader to know that one of the infinite 
curves derives its name from its supposed resemblance to 
the climbing of ivy up a tree. 

§ 16. I spoke just now of " well-composed. " curves, — I 
mean curves so arranged as to oppose and set each other 
off, and yet united by a common law ; for as the beauty 
of every curve depends on the unity of its several compo- 
nent lines, so the beauty of each group of curves depends 
on their submission to some general law. In forms which 
quickly attract the eye, the law which unites the curves is 
distinctly manifest ; but, in the richer compositions of 
ISature, cunningly concealed by delicate infractions of it ; — 
wilfulnesses they seem, and forgetfuln esses, which, if once 
the law be perceived, only increase our delight in it by 
showing that it is one of equity not of rigor, and allows, 
within certain limits, a kind of individual liberty. Thus the 
system of unison which regulates the magnolia shoot, in 
Plate 42, is formally expressed in Fig. 8. Every line has 
it^ origin in the point p, and the curves generally diminish 
in intensity towards the extremities of the leaves, one or 
two, however, again increasing their sweep near the points. 
In vulgar ornamentation, entirely rigid laws of line are 
always observed; and the common Greek honeysuckle 
and other such formalisms are attractive to uneducated 
eyes, owing to their manifest compliance with the first 
conditions of unity and symmetry, being to really noble 



ornamentation what the sing-song of a bad reader of 
poetry, laying regular emphasis on every required syllable 
of every foot, is to the varied, irregular, unexpected, inim- 
itable cadence of the voice of a person of sense and feeling 
reciting the same lines, — not in cognisant of the rhythm, 
but delicately bending it to the expression of passion, and 
the natural sequence of the thought. 


Fig. 8. 

§ 17. In mechanically drawn patterns of dress, Alham- 
bra and common Moorish ornament, Greek mouldings, 
common flamboyant traceries, common Corinthian and 
Ionic capitals, and such other work, lines of this declared 
kind (generally to be classed under the head of " doggrel 



ornamentation'') may be seen in rich prof usion ; and they 
are necessarily the only kind of lines 
which can be felt or enjoyed by per- 
sons who have been educated without 
reference to natural forms ; their in- 
stincts being blunt, and their eyes 
actually incapable of perceiving 
the inflexion of noble curves. But 
the moment the perceptions have 
been refined by reference to natural 
form, the eye requires perpetual vari- 
ation and transgression of the formal 
law. Take the simplest possible con- 
dition of thirteenth-century scroll- 
work, Fig. 9. The law or cadence 
established is of a circling tendril, 
terminating in an ivy-leaf. In vul- 
gar design, the curves of the circling tendril would have 
been similar to each other, and might have been drawn by 
a machine, or by some mathematical formula. But in 
good design all imitation by machinery is impossible. No 
curve is like another for an instant ; no branch springs at 
an expected point. A cadence is observed, as in the re- 
turning clauses of a beautiful air in music ; but every 
clause has its own change, its own surprises. The enclos- 
ing form is here stiff and (nearly) straight-sided, in order 
to oppose the circular scroll-work ; but on looking close it 
will be found that each of its sides is a portion of an infinite 
curve, almost too delicate to be traced ; except the short 
lowest one, which is made quite straight, to oppose the 

I give one more example from another leaf of the same 
manuscript, Fig. 10, merely to show the variety introduced 
by the old designers between page and page. And, in 
general, the reader may take it for a settled law that, 



whatever can be done by machinery, or imitated by for- 
mula, is not worth doing or imitating at all. 

Pig. 10. 

§ 18. The quantity of admissible transgression of law 
varies with the degree in which the ornamentation involves 
or admits imitation of nature. Thus, if these ivy leaves 
in Fig. 10 were completely drawn in light and shade, they 



would not be properly connected with the more or less 
regular sequences of the scroll ; and in very subordinate 
ornament, something like complete symmetry may be 
admitted, as in bead mouldings, chequerings, &c. Also, 
the ways in which the transgression may be granted vary 
infinitely ; in the finest compositions it is perpetual, and 
yet so balanced and atoned for as always to bring about 
more beauty than if there had been no transgression. In 
a truly fine mountain or organic line, if it is looked at in 
detail, do one would believe in its being a continuous 
curve, or being subjected to any fixed law. It seems 
broken, and bending a thousand ways ; perfectly free and 
wild, and yielding to every impulse. But, after following 
with the eye three or four of its impulses, we shall begin 
to trace some strange order among them ; every added 
movement will make the ruling intent clearer ; and when 
the wdiole life of the line is revealed at last, it will be 
found to have been, throughout, as obedient to the true 
law of its course as the stars in their orbits. 

Thus much may suffice for our immediate purpose re- 
specting beautiful lines in general. 4 M. P., 257. 



Composition means, literally and simply, putting several 
things together, so as to make one thing out of them ; the 
nature and goodness of which they all have a share in pro- 
ducing. Thus a musician composes an air, by putting 
notes together in certain relations ; a poet composes a 
poem, by putting thoughts and words in pleasant order ; 
and a painter a picture, by putting thoughts, forms, and 
colours in pleasant order. 

In all these cases, observe, an intended unity must be the 
result of composition. A paviour cannot be said to com- 
pose the heap of stones which he empties from his cart, 
nor the sower the handful of seed which he scatters from 
his hand. It is the essence of composition that everything 
should be in a determined place, perform an intended 
part, and act, in that part, advantageously for everything 
that is connected with it. 

Composition, understood in this pure sense, is the type, 
in the arts of mankind, of the Providential government of 
the world.* It is an exhibition, in the order given to 
notes, or colours, or forms, of the advantage of perfect 
fellowship, discipline, and contentment. In a well-com- 
posed air, no note, however short or low, can be spared, 
but the least is as necessary as the greatest : no note, how- 
ever prolonged, is tedious ; but the others prepare for, and 
are benefited by, its duration : no note, however high, is 

* See farther, on this subject, Modern Painters, vol. iv. chap. viii. 
§ 6 ; Office of Imagination in Composition, Modern Painters, vol. ii. 146. 



tyrannous ; the others prepare for, and are benefited by, 
its exaltation: no note, however low, is overpowered; the 
others prepare for, and sympathize with, its humility : and 
the result is, that each and every note has a value in the 
position assigned to it, which, by itself, it never possessed, 
and of which, by separation 'from the others, it would in- 
stantly be deprived. 

Similarly, in a good poem, each word and thought en- 
hances the value of those which precede and follow it ; 
and every syllable has a loveliness which depends not so 
much on its abstract sound as on its position. Look at 
the same word in a dictionary, and you will hardly re- 
cognize it. 

Much more in a great picture ; every line and colour is 
so arranged as to advantage the rest. IS^one are inessential, 
hxywever slight ; and none are independent, however for- 
cible. It is not enough that they truly represent natural 
objects ; but they must fit into certain places, and gather 
into certain harmonious groups : so that, for instance, the 
red chimney of a cottage is not merely set in its place as a 
chimney, but that it may affect, in a certain way pleasur- 
able to the eye, the pieces of green or blue in other parts 
of the picture ; and we ought to see that the work is mas- 
terly, merely by the positions and cpiantities of these patch- 
es of green, red, and blue, even at a distance which renders 
it perfectly impossible to determine what the colours re- 
present: or to see whether the red is a chimney, or an old 
woman's cloak; and whether the blue is smoke, sky, or 

It seems to be appointed, in order to remind us, in all 
wc do, of the great laws of Divine government and human 
polity, that composition in the arts should strongly affect 
every order of mind, however unlearned or thoughtless. 
Hence the popular delight in rhythm and metre, and in 
simple musical melodies. But it is also appointed that 



power of composition in the fine arts should be an exclu- 
sive attribute of great intellect. All men can more or less 
copy what they see, and, more or less, remember it : powers 
of reflection and investigation are also common to us all, 
so that the decision of inferiority in these rests only on 
questions of degree. A. has a better memory than B., and 
C. reflects more profoundly than D. But the gift of com- 
position is not given at all to more than one man in a 
thousand ; in its highest range, it does not occur above 
three or four times in a century. 

It follows, from these general truths, that it is impossi- 
ble to give rules which will enable you to compose. You 
might much more easily receive rules to enable you to be 
witty. If it were possible to be witty by rule, wit would 
cease to be either admirable or amusing : if it were possible 
to compose melody by rule, Mozart and Cimarosa need not 
have been born: if it were possible to compose pictures by 
rule, Titian and Veronese would be ordinary men. The 
essence of composition lies precisely in the fact of its 
being unteachable, in its being the operation of an indi- 
vidual mind of range and power exalted above others. 

But though no one can invent by rule, there are some 
simple laws of arrangement which it is well for you to 
know, because, though they will not enable you to produce 
a good picture, they will often assist you to set forth what 
goodness may be in your work in a more telling way than 
you could have done otherwise ; and by tracing them in 
the work of good composers, you may better understand 
the grasp of their imagination, and the power it possesses 
over their materials. I shall briefly state the chief of 
these laws. 




1. The Law of Prmcipality.— The great object of 
composition being always to secure unity ; that is, to make 
out of many things one whole ; the first mode in which 
this can be effected is, by determining that one feature 
shall be more important than all the rest, and that the 
others shall group with it in subordinate positions. 

This is the simplest law of ordinary ornamentation. 
Thus the group of two leaves, a, Fig. 11., is unsatisfactory, 
because it has no leading leaf ; 
but that at b is prettier, 
because it has a head or mas- 
ter-leaf ; and c more satisfac- 
tory still, because the subor- 
dination of the other members 
to this head leaf is made more manifest by their gradual 
loss of size as they fall back from it. Hence part of the 
pleasure we have in the Greek honeysuckle ornament, and 
such others. 

Thus, also, good pictures have always one light larger or 
brighter than the other lights, or one figure more promi- 
nent than the other figures, or one mass of colour dominant 
over all the other masses ; and in general you will find it 
much benefit your sketch if you manage that there shall 
be one li^lit on the cottage wall, or one blue cloud in the 
sky, which may attract the eye as leading light, or leading 
gloom, above all others. But the observance of the rule 
is often so cunningly concealed by the great composers, 
that its force is hardly at first traceable; and you will 
generally find they are vulgar pictures in which the law is 
striki/ngly manifest. This may be simply illustrated by 
musical melody ; for instance, in such phrases as this: 



one note (here the upper o) rules the whole passage, and 
has the full energy of it concentrated in itself. Such 
passages, corresponding to completely subordinated com- 
positions in painting, are apt to be wearisome if often 
repeated. But in such a phrase as this : 


-w— * 

it is very difficult to say which is the principal note. The 
a in the last bar is slightly dominant, but there is a very 
equal current of power running through the whole ; and 
such passages rarely weary. And this principle holds 
through vast scales of arrangement; so that in the grandest 
compositions, such as Paul Veronese's Marriage in Cana, 
or Raphael's Disputa, it is not easy to fix at once on the 
principal figure ; and very commonly the figure which is 
really chief does not catch the eye at first, but is gradually 
felt to be more and more conspicuous as we gaze. Thus 
in Titian's grand composition of the Cornaro Family, the 
figure meant to be principal is a youth of fifteen or sixteen, 
whose portrait it was evidently the painter's object to 
make as interesting as possible. But a grand Madonna, 
and a St. George with a drifting banner, and many figures 
more, occupy the centre of the picture, and first catch the 
eye ; little by little we are led away from them to a gleam 
of pearly light in the lower corner, and find that, from the 
head which it shines upon, we can turn our eyes no more. 

As, in every good picture, nearly all laws of design are 
more or less exemplified, it will, on the whole, be an easier 
way of explaining them to analyse one composition 
thoroughly, than to give instances from various works. I 



sliall therefore take one of Turner's simplest ; which will 
allow us, so to speak, easily to decompose it, and illustrate 
each law by it as we proceed. 

Figure 12. is a rude sketch of the arrangement of the 
whole subject; the old bridge over the Moselle at Coblentz, 

Fig. 12. 

the town of Coblentz on the right, Ehrenbreitstein on the 
left. The leading or master feature is, of course, the tower 
on the bridge. It is kept from being too principal by an 
important group on each side of it ; the boats, on the right, 
and Ehrenbreitstein beyond. The boats are large in mass, 
and more forcible in colour, but they are broken into 
small divisions, while the tower is simple, and therefore it 
still leads. Ehrenbreitstein is noble in its mass, but so 
reduced by aerial perspective of colour that it cannot con- 
tend with the tower, which therefore holds the eye, and 
becomes the key of the picture. We shall see presently 
how the very objects which seem at first to contend with 
it for the mastery are made, occultly, to increase its pre- 



2. The Law of Repetition, — -Another important means 
of expressing unity is to mark some kind of -sympathy 
among the different objects, and perhaps the pleasantest, 
because most surprising, kind* of sympathy, is when one 
group imitates or repeats another / not in the way of 
halance or symmetry, but subordinate!) 7 , like a far-away 
and broken echo of it. Raphael makes one figure 
repeat another in motion or attitude. Prout lias in- 
sisted much on this law in all his writings on coriiposi- 
tion ; and I think it is even more authoritatively present 
in the minds of most great composers than the law 
of principality. It is quite curious to see the pains 
that Turner sometimes takes to echo an important 
passage of colour; in the Pembroke Castle for instance, 
there are two fishing-boats, one with a red, and another 
with a white sail. In a line with them, on the beach, 
are two fish in precisely the same relative positions ; 
one red and one white. It is observable that he uses 
the artifice chiefiy in pictures where he wishes to obtain 
an expression of repose: in my -notice of the plate 
of Scarborough, in the series of the Harbours of England, 
I have already had occasion to dwell on this point ; and I 
extract in the note * one or two sentences which explain 
the principle. In the composition I have chosen for our 
illustration, this reduplication is employed to a singular 
extent. The tower, or leading feature, is first repeated by 
the low echo of it to the left; put your finger over this 

* " In general, throughout Nature, reflection and repetition are 
peaceful things, associated with the idea of quiet succession in events ; 
that one day should be like another day, or one history the repetition 
of another history, being more or less results of quietness, while dissimi- 
larity and non- succession are results of interference and disquietude. 
Thus, though an echo actually increases the quantity of sound heard, 
its repetition of the note or syllable gives an idea of calmness attainable 
in no other way ; hence also the feeling of calm given to a landscape by 
the voice of a cuckoo." 



lower tower, and see how the picture is spoiled. Then 
the spires of Coblentz are all arranged in couples (how 
they are arranged in reality does not matter ; when we 
are composing a great picture, we must play the towers 
about till they come right, as fearlessly as if they were 
chessmen instead of cathedrals). The dual arrangement 
of these towers would have been too easily seen, were it 
not for a little one which pretends to make a triad of the 
last group on the right, but is so faint as hardly to be dis- 
cernible : it just takes off the attention from the artifice, 
helped in doing so by the mast at the head of the boat, 
which, however, has instantly its own duplicate put at the 
stern.* Then there is the large boat near, and its echo 
beyond it. That echo is divided into two again, and 
each of those two smaller boats has two figures in it ; 
while two figures are also sitting together on the great 
rudder that lies half in the water, and half aground. 
Then, finally, the great mass of Ehrenbreitstein, which 
appears at first to have no answering form, has almost its 
facsimile in the bank on which the girl is sitting; this 
bank is as absolutely essential to the completion of the 
picture as any object in the wdiole series. All this is 
done to deepen the effect of repose. 

Symmetry or the balance of parts or masses in nearly 
equal opposition, is one of the conditions of treatment 
under the law of Repetition. For the opposition, in a 
symmetrical object, is of like things reflecting each other; 
it is not the balance of contrary natures (like that of day 
and night) but of like natures or like forms ; one side of 
a leaf being set like the reflection of the other in water. 

* This is obscure in the rude woodcut, the masts being so delicate 
that they are confused among the lines of reflection. In the original 
they have orange light upon them, relieved against purple behind. 

" Two lines must not mimic one another, one mass must not be equal 
to another."— 2 M. P., 140. 



Symmetry in Nature is, however, never formal nor accu- 
rate. She takes the greatest care to secure some differ- 
ence between the corresponding things or parts of things ; 
and an approximation to accurate symmetry is only per- 
mitted in animals, because their motions secure perpetual 
difference between the balancing parts. Stand before a 
mirror ; hold your arms in precisely the same position at 
each side, your head upright, your body straight ; divide 
your hair exactly in the middle, and get it as nearly as 
you can into exactly the same shape over each ear, and 
you will see the effect of accurate symmetry ; you will see, 
no less, how all grace and power in the human form result 
from the interference of motion and life with symmetry, 
and from the reconciliation of its balance with its change- 
fulness. Your position, as seen in the mirror, is the highest 
type of symmetry as understood by modern architects. 

In many sacred compositions, living symmetry, the 
balance of harmonious opposites, is one of the profoundest 
sources of their power: almost any works of the early 
painters, Angelico, Perugino, Giotto, &c., will furnish you 
with notable instances of it. The Madonna of Perugino * 
in the National Gallery, with the angel Michael on one 
side and Raphael on the other, is as beautiful an example 
as you can have. 2 M. P., 72, sec. 4. 

In landscape, the principle of balance is more or less 
carried out, in proportion to the wish of the painter to ex- 
press disciplined calmness. In bad compositions, as in 
bad architecture, it is formal, a tree on one side answering 
a tree on the other ; but in good compositions, as in grace- 
ful statues, it is always easy, and sometimes hardly trace- 
able. In the Coblentz, however, you cannot have much 
difficulty in seeing how the boats on one side of the tower 
and the figures on the other are set in nearly equal balance ; 
the tower, as a central mass uniting both. See 2 M. P., 71. 



3. The Law of Continuity. — Another important and 
pleasurable way of expressing unity, is by giving some 
orderly succession to a number of objects more or less 
similar. And this succession is most interesting when 
it is connected with some gradual change in the 
aspect or character of the objects. Thus the succes- 
sion of the pillars of a cathedral aisle is most interesting 
when they retire in perspective, becoming more and more 
obscure in distance ; so the succession of mountain prom- 
ontories one behind another, on the flanks of a valley ; so 
the succession of clouds, fading farther and farther to- 
wards the horizon ; each promontory and each cloud being 
of different shape, yet all evidently following in a calm 
and appointed order. If there be no change at all in the 
shape or size of the objects, there is no continuity; there 
is only repetition — monotony. It is the change in shape 
which suggests the idea of their being individually free, 
and able to escape, if they liked, from the law that rules 
them, and yet submitting to it. I will leave our chosen 
illustrative composition for a moment to take up another, 
still more expressive of this law. It is one of Turner's 
most tender studies, a sketch on Calais Sands at sunset ; 
so delicate in the expression of wave and cloud, that it is 
no use for me to try to reach it with any kind of outline 
in a woodcut; but the rough sketch, Fig. 13, is enough 
to give an idea of its arrangement. The aim of the painter 
has been to give the in tensest expression of repose, together 
with the enchanted lulling, monotonous motion of cloud 
and wave. All the clouds are moving in innumerable 
ranks after the sun, meeting towards the point in the hori- 
zon where he has set; and the tidal waves gain in wind- 
ing currents upon the sand, with that stealthy haste in 
which they cross each other so quietly, at their edges: 
just folding one over another as they meet, like a little 
piece of ruffled silk, and leaping up a little as two chil- 



dren kiss and clap their hands, and then going on again, 
each in its silent hurry, drawing pointed arches on the 
sand as their thin edges intersect in parting ; but all this 
would not have been enough expressed without the line 
of the old pier-timbers, black with weeds, strained and 
bent by the storm-waves, and now seeming to stoop in 
following one another, like dark ghosts escaping slowly 
from the cruelty of the pursuing sea. 

Fig. 13. 

I need not, I hope, point out to the reader the illustra- 
tion of this law of continuance in the subject chosen for 
our general illustration. It was simply that gradual suc- 
cession of the retiring arches of the bridge which induced 
Turner to paint the subject at all; and it was this same 
principle wdiich led him always to seize on subjects in- 
cluding Ions: bridges wherever he could find them ; but 
especially, observe, unequal bridges, having the highest 
arch at one side rather than at the centre. There is a 
reason for this, irrespective of general laws of composi- 
tion, and connected with the nature of rivers, which I 



may as well stop a minute to tell you about, and let you 
rest from the study of composition. 

All rivers, small or large, agree in one character, they 
like to lean a little on one side : they cannot bear to have 
their channels deepest in the middle, but will always, if 
they can, have one bank to sun themselves upon, and 
another to get cool under; one shingly shore to play over, 
where they may be shallow, and foolish, and childlike, 
and another steep shore, under which they can pause, and 
purify themselves, and get their strength of waves fully 
together for due occasion. Rivers in this way are just like 
wise men, who keep one side of their life for play, and 
another for work; and can be brilliant, and chattering, 
and transparent, when they are at ease, and yet take deep 
counsel on the other side when they set themselves to their 
main purpose. And rivers are just in this divided, also, 
like wicked and good men: the good rivers have service- 
able deep places all along their banks, that ships can sail 
in ; but the wicked rivers go scoopingly irregularly un- 
der their banks until they get full of strangling eddies, 
which no boat can row over without being twisted against 
the rocks ; and pools like wells, which no one can get out 
of but the water-kelpie that lives at the bottom; — but, 
wicked or good, the rivers all agree in having two kinds 
of sides. Now the natural way in which a village stone- 
mason therefore throws a bridge over a strong stream is, 
of course, to build a great door to let the cat through, and 
little doors to let the kittens through ; a great arch for the 
great current, to give it room in flood time, and little 
arches for the little currents along the shallow shore. This, 
even without any prudential respect for the floods of the 
great current, he would do in simple economy of work and 
stone; for the smaller your arches are, the less material 
you want on their flanks. Two arches over the same span 
of river, supposing the butments are at the same depth, are 



cheaper than one, and that by a great deal ; so that, where 
the current is shallow, the village mason makes his arches 
many and low; as the water gets deeper, and it becomes 
troublesome to build his piers up from the bottom, he 
throws his arches wider; at last he comes to the deep 
stream, and, as he cannot build at the bottom of that, he 
throws his largest arch over it with a leap, and with 
another little one or so gains the opposite shore. Of 
course as arches are wider they must be higher, or they 
will not stand ; so the roadway must rise as the arches widen. 
And thus we have the general type of bridge, with its 
highest and widest arch towards one side, and a train of 
minor arches running over the flat shore on the other ; 
usually a steep bank at the river-side next the large arch ; 
always, of course, a flat shore on the side of the small ones; 
and the bend of the river assuredly concave towards this 
Hat, cutting round, with a sweep into the steep bank ; or, 
if there is no steep bank, still assuredly cutting into the 
shore at the steep end of the bridge. 

Now this kind of bridge, sympathising, as it does, with 
the spirit of the river, and marking the nature of the 
thing it has to deal with and conquer, is the ideal of a 
bridge ; and all endeavours to clo the thing in a grand 
engineer's manner, with a level roadway and equal arches, 
are barbarous ; not only because all monotonous forms are 
ugly in themselves, but because the mind perceives at once 
that there has been cost uselessly thrown away for the 
sake of formality.* 

* The cost of art in getting a bridge level is always lost, for you must 
get up to the height of the central arch at any rate, and you only can 
make the whole bridge level by putting the hill farther back, and pre- 
tending to have got rid of it when you have not, but have only wasted 
money in building an unnecessary embankment. Of course, the bridge 
should not be difficultly or dangerously steep, but the necessary slope, 
whatever it may be, should be in the bridge itself, as far as the bridge 
can take it, and not pushed aside into the approach, as in our Waterloo 



"Well, to return to our continuity. We see that the Tur- 
nerian bridge in Fig. 12 is of the absolutely perfect type, 
and is still farther interesting by having its main arcli 
crowned by a watch-tower. But as I want you to note 
especially what perhaps was not the case in the real bridge, 
but is entirely Turner's doing, you will find that though 
the arches diminish gradually, not one is regularly dimin- 
ished — they are all of different shapes and sizes : you can- 
not see this clearly in Fig. 12, but in the larger diagram, 
Fig. 14, over leaf, you will with ease. This is indeed 
also part of the ideal of a bridge, because the lateral 
currents near the shore are of course irregular in size, 
and a simple builder would naturally vary his arches 
accordingly ; and also, if the bottom was rocky, build his 
piers where the rocks came. But it is not as a part of 
bridge ideal, but as a necessity of all noble composition, 
that this irregularity is introduced by Turner. It at once 
raises the object thus treated from the lower or vulgar 
unity of rigid law to the greater unity of clouds, and 
waves, and trees, and human souls, each different, each 
obedient, and each in harmonious service. 

4. The Lavj of Curvature. — There is, however, another 
point to be noticed in this bridge of Turner's. Kot only does 

road ; the only rational excuse for doing which is that when the slope 
must be long it is inconvenient to put on a drag at the top of the bridge, 
and that any restiveness of the horse is more dangerous on the bridge 
than on the embankment. To this I answer : first, it is not more dan- 
gerous in reality, though it looks so, for the bridge is always guarded by 
an effective parapet, but the embankment is sure to have no parapet, or 
only a useless rail ; and secondly, that it is better to have the slope on 
the bridge, and make the roadway wide in proportion, so as to be quite 
safe, because a little waste of space on the river is no loss, but your 
wide embankment at the side loses good ground ; and so my picturesque 
bridges are right as well as beautiful, and I hope to see them built 
again some day, instead of the frightful straight-backed things which 
we fancy are fine, and accept from the pontifical rigidities of the engi- 
neering mind. 



it slope away unequally at its sides, but it slopes in a gradual 
though very subtle curve. And if you substitute a straight 
line for this curve (drawing one with a rule from the base 
of the tower on each side to the ends of the bridge, in Fig. 
14., and effacing the curve), you will instantly see that the 
design has suffered grievously. You may ascertain, by 
experiment, that all beautiful objects whatsoever are thus 
terminated by delicately curved lines, except where the 
straight line is indispensable to their use or stability : and 
that when a complete system of straight lines, throughout 
the form, is necessary to that stability, as in crystals, the 
beauty, if any exists, is in colour and transparency, not in 
form. Cut out the shape of any crystal you like, in white 
wax or wood, and put it beside a white lily, and you will 
feel the force of the curvature in its purity, irrespective 
of added colour, or other interfering elements of beauty. 

Well, as curves are more beautif ul than straight lines, 
it is necessary to a good composition that its continuities 
of object, mass, or colour should be, if possible, in curves, 
rather than straight lines or angular ones. Perhaps one 
of the simplest and prettiest examples of a graceful con- 
tinuity of this kind is in the line traced at any moment 
by the corks of a net as it is being drawn : nearly every 
person is more or less attracted by the beauty of the dotted 
line. Now it is almost always possible, not only to secure 
such a continuity in the arrangement or boundaries of 
objects which, like these bridge arches or the corks of the 
net, are actually connected with each other, but — and this 
is a still more noble and interesting kind of continuity 
— among features which appear at first entirely separate. 
Thus the towers of Ehrenbreitstein, on the left, in Fig. 12., 
appear at first independent of each other; but when I 
give their profile, on a larger scale, Fig. .15., the reader 
may easily perceive that there is a subtle cadence and 
harmony among them. The reason of this is, that they 



are all bounded by one grand curve, traced by the dotted 
line ; out of the seven towers, four precisely touch this 
curve, the others only falling back from it here and there 
to keep the eye from discovering it too easily. 

Fig. 15. 

And it is not only always possible to obtain continuities 
of this kind : it is, in drawing large forest or mountain 
forms, essential to truth. The towers of Ehrenbreitstein 
might not in reality fall into such a curve, but assuredly 
the basalt rock on which they stand did ; for all mountain 
forms not cloven into absolute precipice, nor covered by 
straight slopes of shales, are more or less governed by 
these great curves, it being one of the aims of ISTature in 
all her work to produce them. The reader must already 
know this, if he has been able to sketch at all among the 
mountains ; if not, let him merely draw for himself, care- 



fully, the outlines of any low hills accessible to him, where 
they are tolerably steep, or of the woods which grow on 
them. The steeper shore of the Thames at Maidenhead, 
or any of the downs at Brighton or Dover, or, even nearer, 
about Croydon (as Addington Hills), are easily accessible 
to a Londoner ; and he will soon find not only how con- 
stant, but how graceful the curvature is. Graceful cur- 
vature is distinguished from ungraceful by two characters ; 
first, its moderation, that is to say, its close approach to 
straightness in some part of its course ; * and, secondly, by 
its variation, that is to say, its never remaining equal in 
degree at different parts of its course. 

Winkelnian's Ancient Art, p. 48. 

This variation is itself twofold in all good curves. 

A. There is, first, a steady change through the whole 
line, from less to more curvature, or more to less, so that 
no part of the line is a segment of a circle, or can be 
drawn by compasses in any way whatever. Thus, in Fig. 

16., a is a bad curve, because it is part of a circle, and is 
therefore monotonous throughout ; but b is a good curve, 
because it continually changes its direction as it proceeds. 

* I cannot waste space here by reprinting- what I have said in other 
books : but the reader ought, if possible, to refer to the notices of this 
part of our subject in Modern Painters, vol. iv. chap. xvii. ; and Stones 
of Venice, vol. iii. chap. i. § 8. 



The first difference between good and bad drawing of 
tree boughs consists in observance 


of this fact. Thus, when I put 
leaves on the line b, as in Fig. 17., 
von can immediately feel the 
springiness of character dependent 
Fig- 17 - on the changeful ness of the curve. 

You may put leaves on the other 
line for yourself, but you will find you cannot make a 
right tree-spray of it. For all tree boughs, large or small, 
as w T ell as all noble natural lines whatsoever, agree in this 
character; and it is a point 
of primal necessity that your 
eye should always seize and 
your hand trace it. Here are 
two more portions of good 
curves, with leaves put on 
them at the extremities in- 
stead of the flanks, Fig. 18. ; 
and two showing the arrange- 
ment of masses of foliage 
seen a little farther off, Fig. 
19., which you may in like 
manner amuse yourself by turning into segments of cir- 
cles — you will see with what result. I hope, however, 
you have beside you, by this time, many good studies of 
tree boughs carefully made, in which you may study 
variations of curvature in their most complicated and 
lovely forms.* 

B. Isot only does every good curve vary in general 

* If you happen to be reading at this part of the book, without hav- 
ing gone through any previous practice, turn back to the sketch of the 
ramification of stone pine, Fig. 4. p. 33., and examine the curves of its 
boughs one by one, trying them by the conditions here stated nnder the 
heads A and B. 



tendency, but it is modulated, as it 
proceeds, by myriads of subordinate 
curves. Thus the outlines of a tree 
trunk are never as at a* Fig. 20., but 
as at b. So also in waves, clouds, 
and all other nobly formed masses. 
Thus another essential difference 
between good and bad drawing, or 
good and bad sculpture, depends on the quantity and 
refinement of minor curvatures car- 
ried, by good work, into the great 
lines. Strictly speaking, however, 
this is not variation in large curves, 
but composition of large curves 
out of small ones ; it is an in- 
crease in the quantity of the beau- 
tiful element, but not a change in 
its nature. 

5. The Law of Radia tion. — AVe 
have hitherto been concerned only 
with the binding of our various 
objects into beautiful lines or pro- 
cessions. The next point we have 
to consider is, how we may unite 
these lines or processions them- 
selves, so as to make groups of them. 

Now, there are two kinds of har- 
monies of lines. One in which, 
moving more or less side by side, 
they variously, but evidently with 
consent, retire from or approacl l each 
other, intersect or oppose eacli othei 
in music, for different voices, thus approach and cross, 
fall and rise, in harmony ; so the waves of the sea, as they 
approach the shore, flow into one another or cross, but 

Fig. 20. 

currents of melody 



with a great unity through, all ; and so various lines of 
composition often flow harmoniously through and across 
each other in a picture. But the most simple and perfect 
connexion of lines is by radiation ; that is, by their all 
springing from one point, or closing towards it : and this 
harmony is often, in Xature almost always, united with the 
other ; as the boughs of trees, though they intersect and 
play amongst each other irregularly, indicate by their gene- 
ral tendency their origin from one root. An essential 
part of the beauty of all vegetable form is in this radia- 
tion : it is seen most simply in a single flower or leaf, as 
in a convolvulus bell, or chestnut leaf ; but more beautifully 
in the complicated arrangements of the large boughs and 
sprays. For a leaf is only a flat piece of radiation ; but 
the tree throws its branches on all sides, and even in 
every profile view of it, which presents a radiation more 
or less correspondent to that of its leaves, it is more beau- 
tiful, because varied by the freedom of the separate 
branches. I believe it has been ascertained that, in all 
trees, the angle at which, in their leaves, the lateral ribs 
are set on their central rib is approximately the same at 
which the branches leave the great stem ; and thus each 
section of the tree would present a kind of magnified 
view of its own leaf, were it not for the interfering force 


of gravity on the masses of foliage. This force in pro- 
portion to their age, and the lateral leverage upon them, 
bears them downwards at the extremities, so that, as be- 
fore noticed, the lower the bough grows on the stem, the 
more it droops (Fig. 17. p. 6-1.) ; besides this, nearly all 
beautiful trees have a tendency to divide into two or more 
principal masses, which give a prettier and more com- 
plicated symmetry than if one stem ran all the way up 
the centre. Fig. 21. may thus be considered the simplest 
type of tree radiation, as opposed to leaf radiation. In 
this figure, however, all secondary ramification is unrep- 




resented, for the sake of simplicity ; but 
if we take one half of such a tree, and 
merely give two secondary branches to 
each main branch (as represented in the 
general branch structure shown at b, 
Fig. 18. p. 64), we shall have the form, 
22. This I consider the perfect 
general type of tree struc- 
ture ; and it is curiously con- 
nected with certain forms 
zantine, and Gothic ornamentation, into 
discussion of which, however, we must not 
enter here. It will be observed, that both in 
Figures 21. and 22. all the branches so spring 
from the main stem as very nearly to suggest 
their united radiation from the root r. This is 
by no means universally the case ; but if the branches do 
not bend towards a point in the root, they at least converge 
to some point or other. In the examples in Fig. 23., the 

mathematical centre of cur- 
vature, a, is thus, in one case, 
on the ground at some dis- 
tance from the root, and in 
the other, near the top of 
the tree. Half, only, of each 
tree is given, for the sake of 
clearness : Fig. 24. gives both 
sides of another example, in 
which the origins of curvature are below the root. As the 
positions of such points may be varied without end, and as 
the arrangement of the lines is also farther complicated 
by the fact of the boughs springing for the most part in 
a spiral order round the tree, and at proportionate dis- 
tances, the systems of curvature which regulate the form 
of vegetation are quite infinite. Infinite is a word 




easily said, and easily written, and people do not always 
mean it when they say it ; in this case I do A 
mean it; the number of systems is incalcu- X 
lable, and even to furnish anything like a 
representative number of types, I should have 
to give several hundreds of figures such as 
Fig. 24* 

Thus far, however, we have only been 
speaking of the great relations of stem and 
branches. The forms of the branches them- 
selves are regulated by still more subtle laws, 
for they occupy an intermediate position 
between the form of the tree and of the leaf. f \| 
The leaf has a flat ramification ; the tree a I f 
completely rounded one ; the bough is a Fi g . 24? 
neither rounded nor flat, but has a structure exactly 
balanced between the two, in a half -flattened, half- 
rounded flake, closely resembling in shape one of the thick 
leaves of an artichoke or the flake of a fir cone ; by com- 
bination forming the solid mass of the tree, as the leaves 
compose the artichoke head. I have before pointed out 
to you the general resemblance of these branch flakes to 

an extended hand ; but 
they may be more accu- 
rately represented by 
the ribs of a boat. If 
you can imagine a very 
broad-headed and flat- 
tened boat applied by 
its keel to the end of a main branch,f as in Fig. 25., 

* The reader, I hope, observes always that every line in these fig- 
ures is itself one of varying curvature, and cannot be drawn by com- 

f I hope the reader understands that these woodcuts are merely fac- 
similes of the sketches I make at the side of my paper to illustrate my 

Fig. 25. 



the lines which its ribs will take, and the general con- 
tour of it, as seen in different directions, from above and 
below ; and from one side and another, will give you the 
closest approximation to the perspectives and foreshort- 
ening of a well-grown branch-flake. Fig- 26. below, is 
an unharmed and unrestrained shoot of a healthy young 
oak ; and, if you compare it with Fig. 25., you will under- 
stand at once the action of the lines of leafage ; the boat 
only failing as a type in that its ribs are too nearly paral- 
lel to each other at the sides, while the* bough sends all its 
ramification well forwards, rounding to the head, that it 
may accomplish its part in the outer form of the whole 
tree, yet always securing the compliance with the great 
universal law that the branches nearest the root bend most 
back ; and, of course, throwing some always back as well 
as forwards ; the appearance of reversed action being much 
increased, and rendered more striking and beautiful, by 
perspective. Fig. 25. shows 
the perspective of such a 
bouo-h as it is seen from be- 
low; Fig. 26. gives rudely 
the look it would have from 

You may suppose, if you 
have not already discovered, 
what subtleties of perspective 

and light and shade are involved in the drawing of these 
branch flakes, as you see them in different directions and 
actions; now raised, now depressed; touched on the edges 
by the wind, or lifted up and bent back so as to show all 
the white under surfaces of the leaves shivering in light, 

meaning as I write — often sadly scrawled if I want to get on to some- 
thing else. This one is really a little too careless ; but it would take 
more time and trouble to make a proper drawing of so odd a boat than 
the matter is worth. It will answer the purpose well enough as it is. 



as the bottom of a boat rises white with spray at the surge- 
crest; or drooping in quietness towards the dew of the 
grass beneath them in windless mornings, or bowed down 
under oppressive grace of deep-charged snow. S now- 
time, by the way,- is one of the best for practice in the 
placing of tree masses ; but you will only be able to under- 
stand them thoroughly by beginning with a single bough 
and a few leaves placed tolerably even, as in Fig. IS. p. 
64. First one with three leaves, a central and two lateral 
ones, as at a; thenVith five, as at b, and so on ; directing 
your whole attention to the expression, both by contour 
and light and shade, of the boat-like arrangements, which, 
in your earlier studies, will have been a good deal con- 
fused, partly owing to your inexperience, and partly to the 
depth of shade, or absolute blackness of mass required in 
those studies. 

One thing more remains to be noted, and I will let you 
out of the wood. You see that in eveiy generally repre- 
sentative figure I have surrounded the radiating branches 
with a dotted line : such lines do indeed terminate every 
vegetable form ; and you see that they are themselves 
beautiful curves, which, according to their flow, and the 
width or narrowness of the spaces they enclose, character- 
ize the species of tree or leaf, and express its free or for- 
mal action, its grace of youth or weight of age. So that, 
throughout all the freedom of her wildest foliage, Nature is 
resolved on expressing an encompassing limit ; and mark- 
ing a unity in the whole tree, caused not only by the rising 
of its branches from a common root, but by their joining 
in one work, and being bound by a common law. And 
having ascertained this, let us turn back for a moment to 
a point in leaf structure which, I doubt not, you must al- 
ready have observed in your earlier studies, but which it 
is well to state here, as connected with the unity of the 
branches in the great trees. You must have noticed, I 



should think, that whenever a leaf is compound, — that is 
to say, divided into other leaflets which in any way repeat 
or imitate the form of the whole leaf, — those leaflets are 
not symmetrical, as the whole leaf is, but always smaller 
on the side towards the point of the great leaf, so as to ex- 
press their subordination to it, and show, even when they 
are pulled off, that they are not small independent leaves, 
but members of one large leaf. 


Fig. 27. 

Fig. 27., which is a block-plan of a leaf of columbine, 
without its minor divisions on the edges, will illustrate the 
principle clearly. It is composed of a central large mass, 
A, and two lateral ones, of which the one on the right only 
is lettered, B. Each of these masses is again composed of 
three others, a central and two lateral ones; but observe, 
the minor one, a of A, is balanced equally by its opposite; 
but the minor h 1 of B is larger than its opposite lj 2. 
Again, each of these minor masses is divided into three; 
but while the central mass, a of A, is symmetrically di- 



vided, the b of B is unsym metrical, its largest side-lobe 
being lowest. Again b 2, the lobe c 1 (its lowest lobe in 
relation to b) is larger than c 2 ; and so also in h 1. So 
that universally one lobe of a lateral leaf is always larger 
than the other, and the smaller lobe is that which is nearer 
the central mass ; the lower leaf, as it were by courtesy, 
subduing some of its own dignity or power, in the imme- 
diate presence of the greater or captain leaf ; and always 
expressing, therefore, its own subordination and secondary 
character. This law is carried oat even in single leaves. 
As far as I know, the upper half, towards the point of the 
spray, is always the smaller ; and a slightly different curve, 
more convex at the springing, is used for the lower side, 
giving an exquisite variety to the form of the whole leaf; 
so that one of the chief elements in the beauty of every 
subordinate leaf throughout the tree, is made to depend 
on its confession of its own lowliness and subjection. 

And now, if we bring together in one view the princi- 
ples we have ascertained in trees, we shall find they may 
be summed under four great laws ; and that all perfect * 
vegetable form is appointed to express these four laws in 
noble balance of authority. 

1. Support from one living root. 

2. Radiation, or tendency of force from some one given 
point, either in the root, or in some stated connexion with 

3. Liberty of each bough to seek its own livelihood and 
happiness according to its needs, by irregularities of action 

* Imperfect vegetable form I consider that which is in its natnre de- 
pendent, as in runners and climbers ; or which is susceptible of continual 
injury without materially losing the power of giving pleasure by its 
aspect, as in the case of the smaller grasses. I have not, of course, 
space here to explain these minor distinctions, but the laws above stated 
apply to all the more important trees and shrubs likely to be familiar to 
the student. 



both in its play and its work, either stretching out to get 
its required nourishment from light and rain, by finding 
some sufficient breathing-place among the other branches, 
or knotting and gathering itself up to get strength for any 
load which its fruitful blossoms may lay upon it, and for 
any stress of its storm-tossed luxuriance of leaves ; or play- 
ing hither and thither as the fitful sunshine may tempt its 
young shoots, in their undecided states of mind about their 
future life. 

4. Imperative requirement of each bough to stop within 
certain limits, expressive of its kindly fellowship and 
fraternity with the boughs in its neighbourhood ; and to 
work with them according to its power, magnitude, and 
state of health, to bring out the general perfectness of the 
great curve, and eircumferent stateliness of the Avhole tree. 

I think I may leave you, unhelped, to work out the 
moral analogies of these laws ; you may, perhaps, how- 
ever, be a little puzzled to see the meeting of the second 
one. It typically expresses that healthy human actions 
should spring radiantly (like rays) from some single heart 
motive ; the most beautiful systems of action taking place 
when this motive lies at the root of the whole life, and the 
action is clearly seen to proceed from it ; while also many 
beautiful secondary systems of action taking place from 
motives not so deep or central, but in some beautiful sub- 
ordinate connexion with the central or life motive. 

The other laws, if you think over them, you will find 
equally significative; and as you draw trees more and 
more in their various states of health and hardship, you 
will be every day more struck by the beauty of the types 
they present of the truths most essential for mankind to 
know ; * and 3-011 will see what this vegetation of the 

* There is a very tender lesson of this kind in the shadows of leaves 
upon the ground ; shadows which are the most likely of all to attract 
attention, by their pretty play and change. If you examine them, you 




earth, which is necessary to our life, first, as purifying the 
air for us and then as food, and just as necessary to our 
joy in all places of the earth, — what these trees and leaves, 
I say, are meant to teach us as we contemplate them, and 
read or hear their lovely language, written or spoken for 
us, not in frightful black letters, nor in dull sentences, but 
in fair green and shadowy shapes of waving words, and 
blossomed brightness of odoriferous wit, and sweet whispers 
of unintrusive wisdom, and playful morality. 

Well, I am sorry myself to leave the wood, whatever my 
reader may be ; but leave it we must, or we shall compose 
no more pictures to-day. 

This law of radiation, then, enforcing unison of action 
in arising from, or proceeding to, some given point, is 
perhaps, of all principles of composition, the most influeii- 
tial in producing the beauty of groups of form. Other 
laws make them forcible or interesting, but this generally 
is chief in rendering them beautiful. In the arrangement 
of masses in pictures, it is constantly obej 7 ed by the great 
composers ; but, like the law of principality, with careful 
concealment of its imperativeness, the point to which the 
lines of main curvature are directed being very often far 
away out of the picture. Sometimes, however, a system 
of curves will be employed definitely to exalt, by their 

will find that the shadows do not take the forms of the leaves, but that, 
through each interstice, the light falls, at a little distance, in the form 
of a round or oval spot ; that is to say, it produces the image of the sun 
itself, cast either vertically or obliquely, in circle or ellipse according to 
the slope of the ground. Of course the sun's rays produce the same 
effect, when they fall through any small aperture : but the openings be- 
tween leaves are the only ones likely to show it to an ordinary observer, 
or to attract his attention to it by its frequency, and lead him to think 
what this type may signify respecting the greater Sun ; and how it may 
show us that, even when the opening through which the earth receives 
light is too small to let us see the Sun himself, the ray of light that 
enters, if it comes straight from Him, will still bear with it His image. 



concurrence, the value of some leading object, and then 
the law becomes traceable enough. 

In the instance before us, the principal object being, as 
we have seen, the tower on the bridge, Turner has de- 
termined that his system of curvature should have its origin 
in the top of this tower. The diagram Fig. 14. p. 61., 
compared with Fig. 12. p. 51., will show how this is done. 
One curve joins the two towers, and is continued by the 
back of the figure sitting on the bank into the piece of 
bent timber. This is a limiting curve of great importance, 
and Turner has drawn a considerable part of it with the 
edge of the timber very carefully, and then led the eye up 
to the sitting girl by some white spots and indications of 
a ledge in the bank ; then the passage to the tops of the 
towers cannot be missed. 

The next curve is begun and drawn carefully for half 
an inch of its course by the rudder ; it is then taken up 
by the basket and the heads of the figures, and leads ac- 
curately to the tower angle. The gunwales of both the 
boats begin the next two curves, which meet in the same 
point ; and all are centralised by the long reflection which 
continues the vertical lines. 

Subordinated to this first system of curves there is 
another, begun by the small crossing bar of wood inserted 
in the angle behind the rudder ; continued by the bottom 
of the bank on which the figure sits, interrupted forcibly 
beyond it,* but taken up again by the water-line leading 
to the bridge foot, and passing on in delicate shadows un- 

* In the smaller figure (12), it will be seen that this interruption is 
caused by a cart coming down to the water's edge ; and this object is 
serviceable as beginning another system of curves leading out of the 
picture on the right, but so obscurely drawn as not to be easily repre- 
sented in outline. As it is unnecessary to the explanation of our point 
here, it has been omitted in the larger diagram, the direction of the 
curve it begins being indicated by the dashes only. 



der the arches, not easily shown in so rude a diagram, 
towards the other extremity of the bridge. This is a most 
important curve, indicating that the force and sweep of 
the river have indeed been in old times under the large 
arches ; while the antiquity of the bridge is told us by the 
long tongue of land, either of carted rubbish, or washed 
down by some minor stream, which has interrupted this 
curve, and is now used as a landing-place for the boats, 
and for embarkation of merchandise, of which some bales 
and bundles are laid in a heap, immediately beneath the 
great tower. A common composer would have put these 
bales to one side or the other, but Turner knows better ; 
he uses them as a foundation for his tower, adding to its 
importance precisely as the sculptured base adorns a pil- 
lar ; and he farther increases the aspect of its height by 
throwing the reflection of it far down in the nearer water. 
All the great composers have this same feeling about sus- 
taining their vertical masses : you will constantly find 
Prout using the artifice most dexterously (see, for instance, 
the figure with the wheelbarrow T under the great tower, in 
the sketch of St. Nicolas, at Prague, and the white group 
of figures under the tower in the sketch of Augsburg * ) ; 
and Veronese, Titian, and Tintoret continually put their 
principal figures at bases of pillars. Turner found out 
their secret very early, the most prominent instance of his 
composition on this principle being the drawing of Turin 
from the Superga, in Hakewell's Italy. I chose Fig. 10., 
already given to illustrate foliage drawing, chiefly because, 
being another instance of precisely the same arrangement, 
it will serve to convince you of its being intentional. 
There, the vertical, formed by the larger tree, is continued 
by the figure of the farmer, and that of one of the smaller 
trees by his stick. The lines of the interior mass of the 

Both in the Sketches in Flanders and Germany. 



bushes radiate, under the law of radiation, from a point 
behind the farmer's head ; but their outline curves are 
carried on and repeated, under the law of continuity, by 
the curves of the dog and boy — by the way, note the re- 
markable instance in these of the use of darkest lines 
towards the light ; — all more or less guiding the eye up to 
the right, in order to bring it finally to the Keep of 
Windsor, which is the central object of the picture, as the 
bridge tower is in the Coblentz. The wall on which the 
boy climbs answers the purpose of contrasting, both in 
direction and character, with these greater curves ; thus 
corresponding as nearly as possible to the minor tongue of 
land in the Coblentz. This, however, introduces us to 
another law, which we must consider separately. 

6. The Law of Contrast. — Of course the character of 
everything is best manifested by Contrast. Rest can only 
be enjoyed after labour; sound, to be heard clearly, must 
rise out of silence; light is exhibited by darkness, dark- 
ness by light; and so on in all things. Eow in art every 
colour has an opponent colour, which, if brought near it, 
will relieve it more completely than any other ; so, also, 
every form and line may be made more striking to the eye 
by an opponent form or line near them ; a curved line is 
set off by a straight one, a massy form by a slight one, and 
so on ; and in all good work nearly double the value, which 
any given colour or form would have uncombined, is given 
to each by contrast.* 

In this case again, however, a too manifest use of the 
artifice vulgarises a picture. Great painters do not com- 
monly, or very visibly, admit violent contrast. They in- 

* If you happen to meet with the plate of Durer's representing 1 a coat 
of arms with a skull in the shield, note the value given to the concave 
curves and sharp point of the helmet by the convex leafage carried 
round it in front ; and the use of the blank white part of the shield in 
opposing the rich folds of the dresa. 



troduce it by stealth and with intermediate links of tender 
change ; allowing, indeed, the opposition to tell upon the 
mind as a surprise, but not as a shock.* 

Thus in the rock of Ehrenbreitstein, Fig. 15., the main 
current of the lines being downwards, in a convex swell, 
they are suddenly stopped at the lowest tower by a counter 
series of beds, directed nearly straight across them. This 
adverse force sets off and relieves the great curvature, but 
it is reconciled to it by a series of radiating lines below, 
which at first sympathise with the oblique bar, then gradu- 
ally get steeper, till they meet and join in the fall of the 
great curve. No passage, however intentionally monoto- 
nous, is ever introduced by a good artist without some slight 
counter current of this kind ; so much, indeed, do the great 
composers feel the necessity of it, that they will even do 
things purposely ill or unsatisfactorily, in order to give 
greater value to their well-doing in other places. In a skil- 
ful poet's versification the so-called bad or inferior lines 
are not inferior because he could not do them better, but 
because he feels that if all were equally weighty, there 
would be no real sense of weight anywhere ; if all were 
equally melodious, the melody itself would be fatiguing ; 
and he purposely introduces the labouring or discordant 
verse, that the full ring may be felt in his main sentence, 
and the finished sweetness in his chosen rhythm. f And 

* Turner hardly ever, as far as I remember, allows a strong light to 
oppose a full dark, without some intervening tint. His suns never set 
behird dark mountains without a film of cloud above the mountain's 

f " A prudent chief not always must display 
His powers in equal ranks and fair array, 
But with the occasion and the place comply, 
Conceal his force ; nay, seem sometimes to fly. 
Those oft are stratagems which errors seem, 
Nor is it Homer nods, but we that dream." 

Essay <m Criticism. 



continually in painting, inferior artists destroy their work 
by giving too much of all that they think is good, while the 
great painter gives just enough to be enjoyed, and passes 
to an opposite kind of enjoyment, or to an inferior state 
of enjoyment: he gives a passage of rich, involved, ex- 
quisitely wrought colour, then passes away into slight, and 
pale, and simple colour; he paints for a minute or two 
with intense decision, then suddenly becomes, as the spec- 
tator thinks, slovenly ; but he is not slovenly : you could 
not have taken any more decision from him just then; 
you have had as much as is good for you ; he paints over 
a great space of his picture forms of the most rounded 
and melting tenderness, and suddenly, as you think by a 
freak, gives you a bit as jagged and sharp as a leafless 

blackthorn. Perhaps the most exquisite piece of subtle 
contrast in the world of painting is the arrow point, laid 
sharp against the white side and among the flowing hair 
of Correggio's Antiope. It is quite singular how very 
little contrast will sometimes serve to make an entire 
group of forms interesting which would otherwise have 
been valueless. There is a good deal of picturesque ma- 
terial, for instance, in this top of an old tower, Fig. 28., 



tiles and stones and sloping roof not disagreeably min- 
gled; but all would have been unsatisfactory if there had 
not happened to be that iron ring on the inner wall, which 
by its vigorous black circular line precisely opposes all 
the square and angular characters of the battlements and 

Draw the tower without the ring, and see what a differ- 
ence it will make. 

One of the most important applications of the law of 
contrast is in association with the law of continuity, caus- 
ing an unexpected but gentle break in a continuous series. 
This artifice is perpetual in music, and perpetual also m 
good illumination ; the w T ay in which little surprises of 
change are prepared in any current borders, or chains of 
ornamental design, being one of the most subtle character- 
istics of the work of the good periods. We take, for in- 
stance, a bar of ornament between two written columns of 
an early 14th century MS., and at the first glance we sup- 
pose it to be quite monotonous all the way up, composed 
of a winding tendril, with alternately a blue leaf and a 
scarlet bud. Presently, however, we see that, in order to 
observe the law of principality, there is one large scarlet 
leaf instead of a bud, nearly half-way up, which forms a 
centre to the whole rod; and when we begin to examine 
the order of the leaves, we find it varied carefully. Let a 
stand for scarlet bud, b for blue leaf, c for two blue leaves 
on one stalk, s for a stalk without a leaf, and r for the 
large red leaf. Then counting from the ground, the order 
begins as follows : 

b, b, a ; b, s, b, a ; 5, b, a ; b, 6, a ; and we think we shall 
have two 5's and a all the way, when suddenly it becomes 
b, a ; bj r ; b, a ; b, a ; b, a ; and we think we are going to 
have b, a continued ; but no: here it becomes b, s ; b, s; b, 
a ; b, s ; b, s ; c, s ; b, s ; b, s ; and we think we are surely 
going to have b, s continued, but behold it runs away to 



the end with a quick h, 7>, a ; b, 5, b, d ! * Very often, how- 
ever, the designer is satisfied with one surprise, but I never 
saw a good illuminated border without one at least ; and 
no series of any kind is ever introduced by a great com- 
poser in a painting without a snap somewhere. There is 
a pretty one in Turner's drawing of Rome, with the large 
balustrade for a foreground in the Hake well's Italy series : 
the single baluster struck out of the line, and showing the 
street below through the gap, simply makes the whole 
composition right, when otherwise, it would have been 
stiff and absurd. 

If you look back to Fig. 28. you will see, in the arrange- 
ment of the battlements, a simple instance of the use of 
such variation. The whole top of the tower, though actu- 
ally three sides of a square, strikes the eye as a continuous 
series of five masses. The first two, on the left, somewhat 
square and blank ; then the next two higher and richer, 
the tiles being seen on their slopes. Both these groups 
being couples, there is enough monotony in the series to 
make a change pleasant ; and the last battlement, there- 
fore, is a little higher than the first two, — a little lower 
than the second two, — and different in shape from either. 
Hide it with your finger, and see how ugly and formal 
the other four battlements look. 

There are in this figure several other simple illustrations 
of the laws we have been tracing. Thus the whole shape 
of the walls' mass being square, it is well, still for the sake 
of contrast, to oppose it not only by the element of curv- 
ature, in the ring, and lines of the roof below, but by that 
of sharpness ; hence the pleasure which the eye takes in 
the projecting point of the roof. Also because the walls 
are thick and sturdy, it is well to contrast their strength 

* I am describing from an MS. , circa 1300, of Gregory's Decretalia, 
in my own possession. 




with weakness ; therefore we enjoy the evident decrepitude 
of this roof as it sinks between them. The whole mass 
being nearly white, we want a contrasting shadow some- 
where ; and get it, under our piece of decrepitude. This 
shade, with the tiles of the wall below, forms another 
pointed mass, necessary to the first by the law of repeti- 
tion. Hide this inferior angle with your finger, and see 
how ugly the other looks. A sense of the law of sym- 
metry, though you might hardly suppose it, has some share 
in the feeling with which yon look at the battlements ; 
there is a certain pleasure in the opposed slopes of their 
top, on one side down to the left, on the other to the right. 
Still less would you think the law of radiation had any- 
thing to do with the matter : but if you take the extreme 
point of the black shadow on the left for a centre, and 
follow first the low curve of the eaves of the wall, it will 
lead you, if you continue it, to the point of the tower cor- 
nice ; follow the second curve, the top of the tiles of the 
w r all, and it will strike the top of the right-hand battle- 
ment ; then draw a curve from the highest point of the 
angle battlement on the left, through the points of the 
roof and its dark echo ; and you will see how the whole 
top of the tower radiates from this lowest dark point. 
There are other curvatures crossing these main ones, to 
keep them from being too conspicuous. Follow the curve 
of the npper roof, it will take you to the top of the highest 
battlement ; and the stones indicated at the right-hand 
side of the tower are more extended at the bottom, in 
order to get some less direct expression of sympathy, such 
as irregular stones may be capable of, with the general 
flow of the curves from left to right. 

You may not readily believe, at first, that all these laws 
are indeed involved in so trifling a piece of composition. 
But as you study longer, you will discover that these laws, 
and many more, are obeyed by the powerful composers in 



every touch : that literally, there is never a dash of their 
pencil which is not carrying out appointed purposes of this 
kind in twenty various ways at once ; and that there is 
as much difference, in way of intention and authority, 
between one of the great composers ruling his colours, and 
a common painter confused by them, as there is between 
a general directing the march of an army, and an old lady 
carried off her feet by a mob. 

7. The Law of Interchange. — Closely connected with the 
law of contrast is a law which enforces the unity of 
opposite things^ by giving to each a portion of the character 
of the other. If, for instance, you divide a shield into two 
masses of colour, all the way down — suppose blue and 
white, and put a bar, or figure of an animal, partly on one 
division, partly on the other, you will find it pleasant to 
the eye if you make the part of the animal blue which 
comes upon the white half, and white which comes upon 
the blue half. This is done in heraldry, partly for the 
sake of perfect intelligibility, but yet more for the sake of 
delight in interchange of colour, since, in all ornamenta- 
tion whatever, the practice is continual, in the ages of 
good design. 

Sometimes this alternation is merely a reversal of con- 
trasts ; as that, after red has been for some time on one 
side, and blue on the other, red shall pass to blue's side 
and blue lo red's. This kind of alternation takes place 
simply in four-quartered shields ; in more subtle pieces of 
treatment, a little bit only of each colour is carried into 
the other, and they are as it were dovetailed together. 
One of the most curious facts which will impress itself 
upon you, when you have drawn some time carefully from 
Nature in light and shade, is the appearance of inten- 
tional artifice with which contrasts of this alternate kind 
, are produced by her; the artistry with which she will 
darken a tree trunk as long as it comes against light sky, 



and throw sunlight on it precisely at the spot where it 
comes against a dark hill, and similarly treat all her masses 
of shade and colour, is so great, that if you only follow her 
closely, every one who looks at your drawing with atten- 
tion will think that you have been inventing the most 
artificially and unnaturally delightful interchanges of 
shadow that could possibly be devised by human wit. 

You will find this law of interchange insisted upon at 
length by Prout in his Lessons on Light and Shade : it 
seems, of all his principles of composition, to be the one 
he is most conscious of ; many others he obeys by instinct, 
but this he formally accepts and forcibly declares. 

The typical purpose of the law of interchange is, of 
course, to teach us how opposite natures may be helped 
and strengthened by receiving each, as far as they can, 
some impress or imparted power, from the other. 

8. The Law of Consistency. — Breadth. — It is to be re- 
membered, in the next place, that while contrast exhibits 
the characters of things, it very often neutralises or 
paralyses their power. A number of white things may be 
shown to be clearly white by opposition of a black thing, 
but if we want the full power of their gathered light, the 
black thing may be seriously in our way. Thus, while 
contrast displays things, it is unity and sympathy which 
employ them, concentrating the power of several into a 
mass. And, not in art merely, but in all the affairs of life, 
the wisdom of man is continually called upon to reconcile 
these opposite methods of exhibiting, or using, the materials 
in his power. By change he gives them pleasantness, and 
by consistency value ; by change he is refreshed, and by 
perseverance strengthened. 

LXence many compositions address themselves to the 
spectator by aggregate force of colour or line, more than 
by contrasts of cither ; many noble pictures are painted 
almost exclusively in various tones of red, or grey, or 



gold, so as to be instantly striking by their breadth of 
flush, or glow, or tender coldness, these qualities being 
exhibited only by slight and subtle use of contrast. Simi- 
larly as to form ; some compositions associate massive 
and rugged forms, others slight and graceful ones, each 
with few interruptions by lines of contrary character. 
And, in general, such compositions possess higher sub- 
limity than those which are more mingled in their ele- 
ments. They tell a special tale, and summon a definite 
state of feeling, while the grand compositions merely 
please the eye. 

This unity or breadth of character generally attaches 
most to the works of the greatest men ; their separate pic- 
tures have all separate aims. We have not, in each, grey 
colour set against sombre, and sharp forms against soft, 
and loud passages against low : but we have the bright 
picture, with its delicate sadness ; the sombre picture, with 
its single ray of relief ; the stern picture, with only one 
tender group of lines ; the soft and calm picture, with only 
one rock angle at its flank ; and so on. Hence the variety 
of their work, as well as its impressiveness. The princi- 
pal hearing of this lavj, however, is on the separate mass- 
es or divisions of a picture : the character of the whole 
composition may be broken or various, if we please, but 
there must certainly be a tendency to consistent assem- 
blage in its divisions. As an army may act on several 
points at once, but can only act effectually by having 
somewhere formed and regular masses, and not wholly 
by skirmishers ; so a picture may be various in its ten- 
dencies, but must be somewhere united and coherent in 
its masses. Good composers are always associating their 
colours in great groups; binding their forms together 
by encompassing lines, and securing, by various dexteri- 
ties of expedient, what they themselves call "breadth:" 
that is to say, a large gathering of each hind of thing 



into one place ; light being gathered to light, darkness 
to darkness, and colour to colour. If, however, this be 
done by introducing false lights or false colours, it is 
absurd and monstrous ; the skill of a painter consists in 
obtaining breadth by rational arrangement of his objects, 
not by forced or wanton treatment of them. It is an 
easy matter to paint one thing all white, and another 
all black or brown ; but not an easy matter to assemble 
all the circumstances which will naturally produce white 
in one place, and brown in another. Generally speak- 
ing, however, breadth will result in sufficient degree 
from fidelity of study : Nature is always broad ; and if 
you paint her colours in true relations, you will paint 
them in majestic masses. If you find your work look 
broken and scattered, it is, in all probability, not only ill 
composed, but untrue. 

The opposite quality to breadth, that of division or 
scattering of light and colour, has a certain contrasting 
charm, and is occasionally introduced with exquisite effect 
by good composers.* Still, it is never the mere scatter- 
ing, but the order discernible through this scattering, 
which is the real source of pleasure ; not the mere multi- 
tude, but the constellation of multitude. The broken 
lights in the work of a good painter wander like flocks 
upon the hills, not unshepherded ; speaking of life and 
peace : the broken lights of a bad painter fall like hail- 
stones, and are capable only of mischief, leaving it to be 
wished they were also of dissolution. 

9. The Law of Harmony. — This last law is not, strictly 
speaking, so much one of composition as of truth, but it 

* One of the most wonderful compositions of Tintoret in Venice, is 
little more than a field of subdued crimson, spotted with flakes of scat- 
tered gold. The upper clouds in the most beautiful skies owe great 
part of their power to infinitude of division ; order being marked through 
this division. 



must guide composition, and is properly, therefore, to be 
stated in this place. 

Good drawing is, as we have seen, an abstract of natural 
facts ; you cannot represent all that you would, but must 
continually be falling short, whether you will or no, of 
the force, or quantity, of Nature. Now, suppose that 
your means and time do not admit of your giving the 
depth of colour in the scene, and that you are obliged to 
paint it paler. If you paint all the colours proportion- 
ately paler, as if an equal quantity of tint had been 
washed away from each of them, you still obtain a har- 
monious, though not an equally forcible statement of 
natural fact. But if you take away the colors unequally, 
and leave some tints nearly as deep as they are in Nature, 
while others are much subdued, you have no longer a true 
statement. You cannot say to the observer, " Fancy all 
those colours a little deeper, and you will have the actual 
fact." However he adds in imagination, or takes away, 
something is sure to be still wrong. The picture is out of 

It will happen, however, much more frequently, that 
you have to darken the whole system of colours, than to 
make them paler. You remember, in your first studies 
of colour from Nature, you were to leave the passages of 
light Avhich were too bright to be imitated, as white paper. 
J3ut, in completing the picture, it becomes necessary to 
put colour into them ; and then the other colours must be 
made darker, in some fixed relation to them. If you 
deepen all proportionately, though the whole scene is 
darker than reality, it is only as if you were looking at the 
reality in a lower light: but if, while you darken some of 
the tints, you leave others undarkeued, the picture is out 
of harmony, and will not give the impression of truth. 

It is not, indeed, possible to deepen all the colors so 
much as to relieve the lights in their natural degree; you 



would merely sink most of your colours, if you tried to do 
so, into a broad mass of blackness : but it is quite possible 
to lower tliem harmoniously, and yet more in some parts 
of the picture than in others, so as to allow you to show 
the light you want in a visible relief. In well-harmonised 
pictures this is done by gradually deepening the tone of 
the picture towards the lighter parts of it, without materi- 
ally lowering it in the very dark parts ; the tendency in 
such pictures being, of course, to include large masses of 
middle tints. But the principal point to be observed in 
doing this, is to deepen the individual tints without dirty- 
ing or obscuring them. It is easy to lower the tone of the 
picture by washing it over with grey or brown ; and easy 
to see the effect of the landscape, when its colours are thus 
universally polluted with black, by using the black convex 
mirror, one of the most pestilent inventions for falsifying 
nature and degrading art which ever was put into an 
artist's hand.* For the thing required is not to darken 
pale yellow by mixing grey with it, but to deepen the pure 
yellow ; not to darken crimson by mixing black with it, 
but by making it deeper and richer crimson : and thus the 
required effect could only be seen in Nature, if you had 
pieces of glass of the colour of every object in your land- 
scape, and of every minor hue that made up those colours, 
and then could see the real landscape through this deep 
gorgeousness of the varied glass. You cannot do this 
with glass, but you can do it for yourself as you work; 
that is to say, you can put deep blue for pale blue, deep 
gold for pale gold, and so on, in the proportion you need ; 
and then you may paint as forcibly as you choose, but 

* I fully believe that the strange grey gloom, accompanied by consid- 
erable power of effect, which prevails in modern French art, must be 
owing to the use of this mischievous instrument ; the French landscape 
always gives me the idea of Nature seen carelessly in the dark mirror, 
and painted coarsely, but scientifically, through the veil of its perversion. 



your work will still be in the manner of Titian, not of 
Caravaggio or Spagnoletto, or any other of the black 
slaves of painting.* 

Supposing those scales of colour, which I told von to 
prepare in order to show yon the relations of colour to 
grey, were quite accurately made, and numerous enough, 
you would have nothing more to do, in order to obtain a 
deeper toue in any given mass of colour, than to substitute 
for each of its hues the hue as many degrees deeper in the 
scale as you wanted, that is to say, if you want to deepen 
the whole two degrees, substituting for the yellow No. 5. 
the yellow No. 7., and for the red No. 9. the red No. 11., 
and so on: but the hues of any object in Nature are far 
too numerous, and their degrees too subtle, to admit of so 
mechanical a process. Still, you may see the principle of 
the whole matter clearly by taking a group of colours out 
of your scale, arranging them prettily, and then washing 
them all over with grey : that represents the treatment of 
Nature by the black mirror. Then arrange the same group 
of colours, with the tints five or six degrees deeper in the 
scale ; and that will represent the treatment of Nature by 

You can only, however, feel your way fully to the right 
of the thing by working from Nature. 

The best subject on which to begin a piece of study of 
this kind is a good thick tree trunk, seen against blue sky 
with some white clouds in it. Paint the clouds in true 
and tenderly gradated white ; then give the sky a bold 
full blue, bringing them well out ; then paint the trunk 
and leaves grandly dark against all, but in such glowing 
dark green and brown as you see they will bear. After- 
wards proceed to more complicated studies, matching the 

* Various other parts of this subject are entered into, especially in 
their bearing on the ideal of painting-, in Modern Painters, vol iv. chap, 



colours carefully first by your old method ; then deepen- 
ing each colour with its own tint, and being careful, above 
all things, to keep truth of equal change when the colours 
are connected with each other, as in dark and light sides 
of the same object. Much more aspect and sense of har- 
mony are gained by the precision with which you observe 
the relation of colours in dark sides and light sides, and the 
influence of modifying reflections, than by mere accuracy 
of added depth in independent colours. 

This harmony of tone, as it is generally called, is the 
most important of those which the artist has to regard. 
But there are all kinds of harmonies in a picture, accord- 
ing to its mode of production. There is even a harmony 
of touch. If you paint one part of it very rapidly and 
forcibly, and another part slowly and delicately, each divi- 
sion of the picture may be right separately, but they will 
not agree together : the whole will be effectless and value- 
less, out of harmony. Similarly, if you paint one part of 
it by a yellow light in a warm day, and another by a grey 
light in a cold day, though both may have been sunlight, 
and both may be well toned, and have their relative shad- 
ows truly cast, neither will look like light : they will 
destroy each other's power, by being out of harmony. 
These are only broad and definable instances of discord- 
ance ; but there is an extent of harmony in all good work 
much too subtle for definition ; depending on the draughts- 
man's carrying everything he draws up to just the balan- 
cing and harmonious point, in finish, and colour, and depth 
of tone, and intensity of moral feeling, and style of touch, 
all considered at once ; and never allowing himself to 
lean too emphatically on detached parts, or exalt one thing 
at the expense of another, or feel acutely in one place and 
coldly in another. If you have got some of Cruikshank's 
etchings, you will be able, I think, to feel the nature of 
harmonious treatment in a simple kind, by comparing 



them with any of Riehter's illustrations to the numerous 
German story-books lately published at Christmas, with 
all the German stories spoiled. Cruikshank's work is 
often incomplete in character and poor in incident, but, 
as drawing, it is perfect in harmony. The pure and sim- 
ple effects of daylight which he gets by his thorough 
mastery of treatment in this respect, are quite unrivalled, 
as far as I know, by any other work executed with so few 
touches. His vignettes to Grimm's German stories, already 
recommended, are the most remarkable in this quality. 
Eichter's illustrations, on the contrary, are of a very high 
stamp as respects understanding of human character, with 
infinite playfulness and tenderness of fancy ; but, as 
drawings, they are almost unendurably out of harmony, 
violent blacks in one place being continually opposed to 
trenchant white in another ; and, as is almost sure to be 
the case with bad harmonists, the local colour hardly felt 
anywhere. All German work is apt to he out of harmony, 
in consequence of its too frequent conditions of affectation, 
and its wilful refusals of fact ; as well as by reason of a 
feverish kind of excitement, which dwells violently on par- 
ticular points, and makes all the lines of. thought in the 
picture to stand on end, as it were, like a cat's fur electri- 
fied ; while good work is always as quiet as a couchant 
leopard, and as strong. 

I have now stated to you all the laws of composition 
which occur to me as capable of being illustrated or de- 
fined ; but there are multitudes of others which, in the 
present state of my knowledge, I cannot define, and others 
which I never hope to define; and these the most impor- 
tant, and connected with the deepest powers of -the art. 
Among those which I hope to be able to explain when I 
have thought of them more, are the laws which relate to 
nobleness and ighobleness; that ignobleness especially 
which we commonly call " vulgarity," and which, in its 



essence, is one of the most curious subjects of inquiry con- 
nected with human feeling. Among those which I never 
hope to explain, are chiefly laws of expression, and others 
bearing simply on simple matters ; but, for that very rea- 
son, more influential than any others. These are, from the 
first, as inexplicable as our bodily sensations are ; it being 
just as impossible, I think, to explain why one succession 
of musical notes * shall be noble and pathetic, and such as 
might have been sung by Casella to Dante, and why an- 
other succession is base and ridiculous, and would be fit 
only for the reasonably good ear of Bottom, as to explain 
why we like sweetness, and dislike bitterness. The best 
part of every great work is always inexplicable : it is good 
because it is good ; and innocently gracious, opening as 
the green of the earth, or falling as the dew of heaven. 

But though you cannot explain them, you may always 
render yourself more and more sensitive to these higher 
qualities by the discipline which you generally give to 
your character, and this especially with regard to the 
choice of incidents ; a kind of composition in some sort 
easier than the artistical arrangements of lines and colours, 
but in every sort nobler, because addressed to deeper 

For instance, in the " Datur Hora Quieti," the last vi- 
gnette to Roger's Poems, the plough in the foreground has 
three purposes. The first purpose is to meet the stream 
of sunlight on the river, and make it brighter by opposi- 
tion; but any dark object whatever would have done this. 
Its second purpose is, by its two arms, to repeat the ca- 

* In all the best arrangements of colour, the delight occasioned by 
their mode of succession is entirely inexplicable, nor can it be reasoned 
about ; we like it just as we like an air in music, but cannot reason any 
refractory person into liking it, if they do not : and yet there is distinctly 
a right and a wrong in it, and a good taste and bad taste respecting it, 
as also in music. 



dence of the group of the two ships, and thus give a 
greater expression of repose; but two sitting figures would 
have done this. Its third and chief, or pathetic, purpose 
is, as it lies abandoned in the furrow (the vessels also being 
moored, and having their sails down), to be a type of hu- 
man labour closed with the close of day. The parts of 
it on which the hand leans are brought most clearly 
into sight ; and they are the chief dark of the picture, be- 
cause the tillage of the ground is required of man as a 
punishment ; but they make the soft light of the setting 
sun brighter, because rest is sweetest after toil. These 
thoughts may never occur to us as we glance carelessly at 
the design ; and yet their under current assuredly affects 
the feelings, and increases, as the painter meant it should, 
the impression of melancholy, and of peace. 

Again, in the " Lancaster Sands," which is one of the 
plates I have marked as most desirable for your posses- 
sion, the stream of light which falls from the setting sun 
on the advancing tide stands similarly in need of some 
force of near object to relieve its brightness. But the in- 
cident which Turner has here adopted is the swoop of an 
angry seagull at a dog, who yelps at it, drawing back as 
the wave rises over his feet, and the bird shrieks within a 
foot of his face. Its unexpected boldness is a type of the 
anger of its ocean element, and warns us of the sea's ad- 
vance just as surely as the abandoned plough told us of 
the ceased labour of the day. 

It is not, however, so much in the selection of single 
incidents of this kind as in the feeling which regulates 
the arrangement of the whole subject that the mind of a 
great composer is known. A single incident may be sug- 
gested by a felicitous chance, as a pretty motto might be 
for the heading a chapter. But the great composers so 

arrange all their designs that one incident illustrates an- 
ts o 

other, just as one colour relieves another. Perhaps the 



" Heysham," of the Yorkshire series which, as to its local- 
it} 7 , may be considered a companion to the last drawing 
we have spoken of, the " Lancaster Sands," presents as in- 
teresting an example as we could find of Turner's feeling 
in this respect. The subject is a simple north-country 
village, on the shore of Morecambe Bay ; not in the com- 
mon sense a picturesque village : there are no pretty bow- 
windows, or red roofs, or rocky steps of entrance to the 
rustic doors, or quaint gables ; nothing but a single street 
of thatched and chiefly clay-built cottages, ranged in a 
somewhat monotonous line, the roofs so green with moss 
that at first we hardly discern the houses from the fields 
and trees. The village street is closed at the end by a 
wooden gate, indicating the little traffic there is on the 
road through it, and giving it something the look of a 
large farmstead, in which a right of way lies through 
the yard. The road which leads to this gate is full of 
ruts, and winds clown a bad bit of hill between two 
broken banks of moor ground, succeeding immediately 
to the few enclosures which surround the village; they can 
hardly be called gardens; but a decayed fragment or two 
of fencing fill the gaps in the bank ; and a clothes-line, with 
some clothes on it, striped blue and red, and a smock-frock, 
is stretched between the trunks of some stunted willows ; 
a very small haystack and pigstye being seen at the back 
of the cottage beyond. An empty, two-wheeled, lumber- 
ing cart, drawn by a pair of horses with huge wooden col- 
lars, the driver sitting lazily in the sun, sideways on the 
leader, is going slowly home along the rough road, it being 
about country dinner-time. At the end of the village there 
is a better house, with three chimneys and a dormer win- 
dow in its roof, and the roof is of stone shingle instead of 
thatch, but very rough. This house is no doubt the cler- 
gyman's; there is some smoke from one of its chimneys, 
none from any other in the village ; this smoke is from 



the lowest chimney at the back, evidently that of the 
kitchen, and it is rather thick, the fire not having been 
long lighted. A few hundred yards from the clergyman's 
house, nearer the shore, is the church, discernible from 
the cottage onlv bv its low-arched belfrv, a little neater 
than one would expect in such a village ; perhaps lately 
built by the Puseyite incumbent ; * and beyond the 
church, close to the sea, are two fragments of a border 
war-tower, standing on their circular mound, worn on its 
brow deep into edges and furrows by the feet of the Tillage 
children. On the bank of moor, which forms the fore- 
ground, are a few cows, the carter's dog barking at a vix- 
enish one : the milkmaid is feeding another, a gentle 
white one, which turns its head to her, expectant of a 
handful of fresh hay, which she has brought for it in her 
blue apron, fastened up round her waist ; she stands with 
her pail on her head, evidently the village coquette, for she 
has a neat bodice, and pretty sti^ed petticoat under the 
blue apron, and red stockings. Nearer us, the cowherd, 
barefooted, stands on a piece of the limestone rock (for 
the ground is thistly and not pleasurable to bare feet) ; — 
whether boy or girl we are not sure ; it may be a boy, 
with a girl's worn-out bonnet on, or a girl with a pair of 
ragged trowsers on; probably the first, as the old bonnet 
is evidently useful to keep the sun out of our eyes when 
we are "looking for strayed cows among the moorland hoi- 
lows, and helps us at present to watch (holding the bon- 
net's edge down) the quarrel of the vixenish cow with the 
dog, which, leaning on our long stick, we allow to proceed 

* u Puseyism" was unknown in the days when this drawing- was 
made ; but the kindly and helpful influences of what may be called ec- 
clesiastical sentiment, which, in a morbidly exaggerated condition, forms 
one of the principal elements of Puseyism," — I use this word regret- 
fully, no other existing which will serve for it, — had been known and 
felt in our wild northern districts long before. 



without any interference. A little to the right the hay is 
being got in, of which the milkmaid has. just taken her 
apronful to the white cow; but the hay is very thiu, and 
cannot well be raked up because of the rocks ; we must 
glean it like corn, hence the smallness of our stack behind 
the willows; and a woman is pressing a bundle of it hard 
together, kneeling against the rock's edge, to carry it safe- 
ly to the hay-cart without dropping any. Beyond the vil- 
lage is a rocky hill, deep set with brushwood, a square crag 
or two of limestone emerging here and there, with pleas- 
ant tnrf on their brows, heaved in russet and mossy mounds 
against the sky, which, clear and calm, and as golden as 
the moss, stretches down behind it towards the sea. A 
single cottage just shows its roof over the edge of the hill, 
looking seaward; perhaps one of the village shepherds is 
a sea captain now, and may have built it there, that his 
mother may first see the sails of his ship whenever it runs 
into the bay. Then under the hill, and beyond the border 
tower, is the blue sea itself, the waves flowing in over the 
sand in long curved lines, slowly ; shadows of cloud, and 
gleams of shallow water on white sand alternating — miles 
away; but no sail is visible, not one fisherboat on the 
beach, not one dark speck on the qniet horizon. Beyond 
all are the Cumberland mountains, clear in the sun, with 
rosy light on all their crags. 

I should think the reader cannot but feel the kind of 
harmony there is in this composition ; the entire purpose 
of the painter to give us the impression of wild, yet 
gentle, country life, monotonous as the succession of the 
noiseless waves, patient and enduring as the rocks ; but 
peaceful, and full of health and quiet hope, and sancti- 
fied by the pure mountain air and baptismal dew of 
heaven, falling softly between days of toil and nights of 

All noble composition of this kind can be reached only 



by instinct : yon cannot set yourself to arrange such a sub- 
ject; you may see it, and seize it, at all times, but never 
laboriously invent it. And your power of discerning what 
is best in expression, among natural subjects, depends 
wholly on the temper in which you keep your own mind ; 
above all, on your living so much alone as to allow it to 
become acutely sensitive in its own stillness. The noisy 
life of modern days is wholly incompatible with any true 
perception of natural beauty. If you go down into Cum- 
berland by the railroad, live in some frequented hotel, and 
explore the hills with merry companions, however much 
you may enjoy your tour or their conversation, depend 
upon it you will never choose so much as one pictorial sub- 
ject rightly ; you will not see into the depth of any. But 
take knapsack and stick, walk towards the hills by short 
day's journeys — ten or twelve miles a day — taking a week 
from some starting-place sixty or seventy miles away : sleep 
at the pretty little wayside inns, or the rough village ones ; 
then take the hills as they tempt you, following glen or 
shore as your eye glances or your heart guides, wholly 
scornful of local fame or fashion, and of everything which 
it is the ordinary traveller's duty to see, or pride to do. 
Never force yourself to admire anything when you are 
not in the humour ; but never force yourself away from 
what you feel to be lovely, in search of anything better : 
and gradually the deeper scenes of the natural world will 
unfold themselves to yon in still increasing fulness of pas- 
sionate power; and your difficulty will be no more to seek 
or to compose subjects, but only to choose one from among 
the multitude of melodious thoughts with which you will 
be haunted, thoughts which will of course be noble or 
original in proportion to your own depth of character 
and general power of mind : for it is not so much by the 
consideration you give to any single drawing, as by the 
previous discipline of your powers of thought, that the 



character of your composition will be determined. Sim- 
plicity of life will make you sensitive to the refinement 
and modesty of scenery, just as inordinate excitement and 
pomp of daily life will make you enjoy coarse colours and 
affected forms. Habits of patient comparison and accu- 
rate judgment will make your art precious, as they will 
make your actions wise ; and every increase of noble en- 
thusiasm in your living spirit will be measured by the 
reflection of its light upon the works of your hands. 

Elements of Drawing, 167-220. 

10. The Law of Selv. — In true composition everything 
not only helps everything else a little, but helps with its 
utmost power. Every atom is in full and kindly energy. 
Not a line, nor speck of colour, but is doing its very best. 
The extent to which this law is carried in truly right and 
noble work is wholly incomprehensible to the ordinary 
observer, and no true account of it would be believed. JSTo 
one can explain how the notes of a Mozart melody, or the 
folds of a piece of Titian's drapery, produce their essential 
effect on each other. 5 M. P., part viii., ch. 1, § 2. 

See this law of help illustrated with great subtility in the 
composition of " The Loire Side " (plate 73, 5 M. P.). Hide 
with your finger the little ring on the stone, and you 
will find the river has stopped flowing. That ring is to 
repeat the curved lines of the river bank, which express 
its current, and bring the feeling of them down to us. 
The least thing helps to express the motive of the picture, 
■ — which is not only repose, but the indolent repose of an 
out wearied people, not caring much what becomes of them. 
The road covered with litter, the crockery left outside the 
cottage to dry in the sun after being washed up, the black 
vine trellis pointing to the massive building in the dis- 
tance — these and other accessories help to unite the compo- 
sition and express its idea. 5 M. P., part viii., ch. 2, § 4. 



The editor adds the following laws of grouping, collect- 
ed from his author and others, and in some particulars 
already anticipated, but important to be seen by the stu- 
dent as a system of rules and principles. 

11. Laws of Grouping. — Grouping is the arrangement 
of figures or objects in natural or pleasing positions. It is 
observable in nature, that in a concourse of people, they 
form themselves into different companies according to ages, 
conditions, or inclinations, and these divisions are called 

There is reason to believe that Zeuxis, who nourished 
400 years b. c, and who simplified composition and im- 
proved colouring, was the first to teach the true method of 
grouping ; at least, from the descriptions by Pausanias, it 
would evidently seem that in all pictures anterior to this 
age, the figures were ranged in lines of parallel perspec- 
tive, without depth or distance, and without any principal 
group on which the interest might centre, even so late as 
Panenas, the brother of Phidias, 450 b. c. The different 
distances were represented by the very inartificial and 
ungracious means of placing the figures in rows one above 
another. Effective linear grouping, however, was not 
known until the revived knowledge, extended and applied, 
of linear perspective by Verrochio and his pupil, Da 
Vinci, in the fifteenth century. 

The Principal Laws of Groups. — (1) The group must 
grow out of the subject. 

(2) The group must contain all that distinguishes it 
from other subjects, and omit nothing that is character- 
istic and exclusively its own. 

(3) The group must admit nothing that is superfluous 
or commonplace. 

(4) Each figure must have its own individuality. 

(5) Each group must have a principal figure as a centre 
of interest. As an exception to this rule P. Veronese, in 



his picture of the Marriage of Cana, puts Christ at the re- 
mote end of the table, in no prominence whatever, his ob- 
ject being to display the figures and splendid dresses of 
the Venetian nobility, rather than illustrate a fact in sacred 

(6) The eye of the spectator must be led to the prin- 
cipal figure by its receiving an emphasis or focus of light 
and colour. Veronese again departs from rule in his 
picture of "Perseus and Andromeda," by putting An- 
dromeda, the chief figure, in shadow. 

Note. — Where numerous figures are huddled together 
without the focus of a chief figure, there is massing but 
no grouping. 

(7) Every group must have an emphasis or focus of 

(8) Every group must have a true lineal perspective. 
Even when the group is in the horizontal form, as in Da 
Vinci's "Last Supper," there is a horizontal perspective. 

12. Number of Figures in Groups. — The figures of the 
group must be neither too numerous nor too crowded ; 
but a number that would appear a crowd and a confusion 
in one picture might be indispensable to another. Sir 
Joshua Reynolds supposes that Paul Veronese, who was 
fond of brilliant assemblies, would say that the number 
of figures in an effective group should not be less than 
forty. Annibale Carracci said that no more than twelve 
could be included with advantage. Sophocles never ad- 
mitted more than three figures on the stage at once. The 
number must be determined by the subject, and left to 
the judgment of the painter. David's picture of the 
" Coronation of Napoleon " has 210 personages, 80 of 
whom are full length. Veronese's "Marriage at Cana" 
has 160 figures, life size. Tintoretto's " Paradise " has 500 
figures. It is evident, therefore, that there can be no rule 
as to numbers of figures admissible in a group. 



13. Principal and Subordinate Groups. — (1) If the 
figures be numerous, it is usual, if not necessary, to 
divide them into principal and subordinate or accessory 

(2) Between the divisions of a group, one of which, as 
we have said, must be a principal group as a focus from 
which the composition is to be developed, and upon which 
the whole picture is to be constructed, there must be unity 
of sentiment, action, and locality. 

(3) Group must balance group. 

14. The Attitudes of Figures. — (1) The various atti- 
tudes of the body must be carefully observed. When one 
side of the body bends in, the other will bend out. The 
lines of the body should be balanced. If one hand and 
arm hang down, the other ought to be raised. If one arm 
goes to the right, the other will naturally and generally 
go to the left. But formality, stiffness, or posturings, 
ought to be carefully avoided, as indicating crude and 
pedantic composition. 

(2) Leslie says that in a group of several figures, one 
must always present its back to the spectator. This is 
unavoidable in circular groups, where the spectator is 
supposed not to be a party, but to stand outside the circle. 

(3) Attitudes and actions are often repeated by the 
figures of a group. In Raphael's picture of " Ananias 
and Sapphira" there are seven figures in a group on 
one side, and seven in a group on the other, and 
seven in the middle ; and no one, except Ananias and 
Sapphira, performs an action that is not repeated, though 

15. The Form of the Group. — According to the direc- 
tion into which the principal lines of a picture or group 
fall, the composition is distinguished into angular, circular, 
and horizontal. 

(1) Angular Grouping.— -a. The diagonal line, the sim- 



plest form of angular composition, is exceedingly well 
adapted for the representation of perspective, especially, 
when, for greater range of* effect, the distance is placed 
towards one side of the picture. 

b. The pyramidal line is the one most approved, espe- 
cially by Hogarth, for the effectiveness of a group. The 
Laocoon is that form. 

c. The diamond or lozenge shape is also well adapted to 
groups of four or five figures. 

(2) Circular Grouping. — This was Raphael's favourite 
form. It is the picturesque form and adapted to grand 
subjects. In some, the figures are arranged on the line of 
an ellipse, nearly closing up in front of the spectator, who 
is supposed to stand on the outside. In others, the eye of 
the spectator is led into the depth of the group, arranged 
in a semicircle, in front and as a part of which the spec- 
tator is supposed to stand. In sacred groups this semi- 
circular arrangement seemed to bring the spectator into 
its immediate presence. 

It is said of P. Veronese, that where he introduced land- 
scape backgrounds into his pictures, that trees are lightly 
but masterly sketched in, and the other accessories are ar- 
ranged in a way so as not to intrude on the centre group. 
In his grandest compositions, in which he loved to intro- 
duce numerous figures and horses, and in the clouds above 
not unfrequently the apotheosis of the blessed, the whole 
is arranged in grand and powerful groups. Some of these 
groups are so fine that their full merit can hardly be felt 
or appreciated at once, almost every head and every figure 
being a study in itself. Rarely do we meet with any crude 
or unsightly figures in the works of this great painter ; be- 
sides, he had an agreeable way of arranging his large com- 
positions, contrary to the general rule, so as not to allow 
all thought or attention to be directed towards the princi- 
pal or speaking figures ; thus the eye is never fatigued by 



dwelling on one point, but is refreshed by glancing from 
one point to another, and is thus able to enjoy those por- 
tions of the composition, which, while accessory in some 
degree to the story, are yet sufficiently independent to be 
considered pictures in themselves. 

Some of Raphael's groups, as in the " School of Athens," 
have too little interior unity ; and some, as in the " Trans- 
figuration " and picture of " Ananias," are too formal, 
almost pedantic. 

Ruskin says that in Tintoretto's picture of " Paradise," 
the grouping is so intricate, at the upper part, it is not 
easy to distinguish one figure from another, but that the 
whole number could. not be below 500. The whole com- 
position is divided into concentric zones, represented one 
above another like the stories of a cupola, round the fig- 
ures of Christ and the Madonna at the central and high- 
est point. Between each zone or belt of the nearer figures, 
the white distances of heaven are seen filled with floating 

(3) Horizontal Grouping is distinguished as the form 
in which the great Da Vinci arranged the Apostles in his 
picture of the " Supper." Our Saviour sits in the middle 
of the table, and on either side are two subordinate groups, 
of three Apostles each. ISTo one ever criticised the suit- 
ableness of the form to the subject, and this suitableness is 
the test of its artistic truth. 

However, as to the form of groups, Fuseli remarks in 
his 5th sect.: " Various are the shapes in which composi- 
tion embodies its subject, and presents it to our eye. The 
cone or pyramid, the globe, the grape, flame, and stream, 
% the circle and its segment lend their figure to elevate, con- 
centrate, round, diffuse themselves, or undulate in its 



As I have already allowed, that in effects of tone, the 
old masters have never yet been equalled ; and as this is 
the first, and nearly the last, concession I shall have to 
make to them, I wish it at once to be thoroughly under- 
stood how far it extends. 

I understand two things by the word " tone : " — first, the 
exact relief and relation of objects against and to each other 
in substance and darkness, as they are nearer or more dis- 
tant, and the perfect relation of the shades of all of them to 
the chief light of the picture, whether that be sky, water, or 
anything else. Secondly, the exact relation of the colours 
of the shadows to the colours of the lights, so that they 
• may be at once felt to be merely different degrees of the 
same light ; and the accurate relation among the illumi- 
nated parts themselves, with respect to the degree in 
which they are- influenced by the colour of the light itself, 
whether warm or cold ; so that the whole of the picture 
(or, where several tones are united, those parts of it which 
are under each,) may be felt to be in one climate under 
one hind of light, and in one hind of atmosphere ; this 
being chiefly dependent on that peculiar and inexplicable 
quality of each colour laid on, which makes the eye feel 
both what is the actual colour of the object represented, 
and that it is raised to its apparent pitch by illumination. 
A very bright brown, for instance, out of sunshine, may 
be precisely of the same shade of colour as a very dead 
or cold brown in sunshine, but it will be totally different 



in quality y and that quality by which the illuminated 
dead colour would be felt in nature different from the 
unilluminated bright one, is what artists are perpetually 
aiming at, and connoisseurs talking nonsense about, under 
the name of ''tone." The want of tone in pictures is 
caused by objects looking bright in their own positive 
hue, and not by illumination, and by the consequent want 
of sensation of the raising of their hues by light. 

The first of these meanings of the word " tone " is 
liable to be confounded with what is commonly called 
"aerial perspective." But aerial perspective is the 
expression of space, by any means whatsoever, sharpness 
of edge, vividness of colour, etc., assisted by greater pitch 
of shadow, and requires only that objects should be 
detached from each other, by degrees of intensity in pro- 
portion to their distance, without requiring that^ the 
difference between the farthest and nearest should be in 
positive quantity the same that nature has put. But 
what I have called " tone " requires that there should be 
the same sum of difference, as well as -the same division 
of differences. 

Now the finely-toned pictures of the old masters are, in 
this respect, some of the notes of nature played two or 
three octaves below her key ; the dark objects in the mid- 
dle distance having precisely the same relation to the 
light of the skv which they have in nature, but the light 
being necessarily infinitely lowered, and the mass of the 
shadow deepened in the same degree. I have often been 
struck, when looking at a camera-obscura on a dark day, 
with the exact resemblance the image bore to one of the 
finest pictures of the old masters ; all the foliage coming 
dark against the sky, and nothing being seen in its mass 
but here and there the isolated light of a silvery stem or 
an unusually illumined cluster of leafage. 

Now if this could be done consistently, and all the 



notes of nature given in this way an octave or two down, 
it would be right and necessary so to do: but be it 
observed, not only does nature surpass us in power of 
obtaining light as much as the sun surpasses white paper, 
but she also infinitely surpasses us in her power of shade. 
Her deepest shades are void spaces from which no light 
whatever is reflected to the eye ; ours are black surfaces 
from which, paint as black as we may, a great deal of 
light is still reflected, and which, placed against one of 
nature's deep bits of gloom, would tell as distinct light. 
Here we are' then, with white paper for our highest light, 
and visible illumined surface for our deepest shadow, set 
to run the gauntlet against nature, with the sun for her 
light, and vacuity for her gloom. It is evident that she 
can well afford to throw her material objects dark against 
the brilliant aerial tone of her sky, and yet give in those 
objects themselves a thousand intermediate distances and 
tones before she comes to black, or to anything like it — 
all the illumined surfaces of her objects being as distinctly 
and vividly brighter than her nearest and darkest shadows, 
as the sky is brighter than those illumined surfaces. But 
if we, against our poor, dull obscurity of yellow paint, 
instead of sky, insist on having the same relation of shade 
in material objects, we go down to the bottom of our scale 
at once ; and what in the world are we to do then % 
Where are all our intermediate distances to come from ? 
— how are we to express the aerial relations among the 
parts themselves, for instance, of foliage, whose most 
distant boughs are already almost black ? — how are we to 
come up from this to the foreground, and when we have 
done so, how are we to express the distinction between its 
solid parts, already as dark as we can make them, and its 
vacant hollows, which nature has marked sharp and clear 
and black, among its lighted surfaces? It cannot but be 
evident at a glance, that if to any one of the steps from 



one distance to another, we give the same quantity of dif- 
ference in pitch of shade which nature does, we must pay 
for this expenditure of our means by totally missing half 
a dozen distances, not a whit less important or marked, 
and so sacrifice a multitude of truths, to obtain one. And 
this, accordingly, was the means by which the old masters 
obtained their (truth ?) of tone. They chose those steps of 
distance which are the most conspicuous and noticeable 
— that for instance from sky to foliage, or from clouds to 
hills — and they gave these their precise pitch of difference 
in shade with exquisite accuracy of imitation. Their 
means were then exhausted, and they were obliged to leave 
their trees flat masses of mere filled-up outline, and to 
omit the truths of space in every individual part of their 
picture by the thousand. But this they did not care for; 
it saved them trouble ; they reached their grand end, imi- 
tative effect ; they thrust home just at the places where 
the common and careless eye looks for imitation, and 
they attained the broadest and most faithful appearance 
of truth of tone which art can exhibit. 

But they are prodigals, and foolish prodigals, in art; 
they lavish their whole means to get one truth, and leave 
themselves powerless when they should seize a thousand. 
And is it indeed worthy of being called a truth, when we 
have a vast history given us to relate, to the fulness of 
which neither our limits nor our language are adequate, 
instead of giving all its parts abridged in the order of 
their importance, to omit or deny the greater part of 
them, that we may dwell with verbal fidelity on two or 
three ? Kay, the very truth to which the rest are sacri- 
ficed is rendered falsehood by their absence, the relation 
of the tree to the sky is marked as an impossibility by the 
want of relation of its parts to each other. 

Turner starts from the beginning with a totally differ- 
ent principle. lie boldly takes pure white (and justly, 



for it is the sign of the most intense sunbeams) for his 
highest light, and lampblack for his deepest shade ; and 
between these he makes every degree of shade indicative 
of a separate degree of distance,* giving each step of 
approach, not the exact difference in pitch which it would 
have in nature, but a difference bearing the same propor- 
tion to that which his sum of possible shade bears to the 
sum of nature's shade ; so that an object half way 
between his horizon and his foreground, will be exactly 
in half tint of force, and every minute division of inter- 
mediate space will have just its proportionate share of the 
lesser sum, and no more. Hence where the old masters 
expressed one distance, he expresses a hundred ; and 
where they said furlongs, he says leagues. Which of 
these modes of procedure be most agreeable with truth, I 
think I may safely leave the reader to decide for himself. 
He will see in this very first instance, one proof of what 
we above asserted, that the deceptive imitation of nature 
is inconsistent with real truth ; for the very means by 
which the old masters attained the apparent accuracy of 
tone which is so satisfying to the eye, compelled them to 
give up all idea of real relations of retirement, and to 
represent a few successive and marked stages of distance, 
like the scenes of a theatre, instead of the imperceptible, 
multitudinous, symmetrical retirement of nature, who is 
not more careful to separate her nearest bush from her 
farthest one, than to separate the nearest bough of that 
bush from the one next to it. 

Take, for instance, one of the finest landscapes that 
ancient art has produced — the work of a really great and 

* Of course I am. not speaking here of treatment of chiaroscuro, but 
of that quantity of depth of shade by which, cceteris paribus, a near 
object will exceed a distant one. For the truth of the systems of Tur- 
ner and the old masters, as regards chiaroscuro, vide Chap. IX. pp # 



intellectual mind, the quiet Nicholas Poussin, in our own 
National Gallery, with the traveller washing his feet. 
The first idea we receive from this picture is, that it is 
evening, and all the light coming from the horizon. Not 
so. It is full noon, the light coming steep from the left, 
as is shown by the shadow of the stick on the right-hand 
pedestal, — (for if the sun were not very high, that shadow 
could not lose itself half way down, and if it were not lat- 
eral, the shadow would slope, instead of being vertical.) 
Now, ask yourself, and answer candidly, if those black 
masses of foliage, in which scarcely any form is seen but 
the outline, be a true representation of trees under noon- 
day sunlight, sloping from the left, bringing out, as it 
necessarily would do, their masses into golden green, and 
marking every leaf and bough with sharp shadow and 
sparkling light. The only truth in the picture is the 
exact pitch of relief against the sky of both trees and 
hills, and to this the organization of the hills, the intricacy 
of the foliage, and everything indicative either of the 
nature of the light, or the character of the objects, are 
unhesitatingly sacrificed. So much falsehood does it cost 
to obtain two apparent truths of tone. Or take, as a still 
more glaring instance, No. 260 in the Dulwich Gallery, 
where the trunks of the trees, even of those farthest off, 
on the left, are as black as paint can make them, and 
there is not, and cannot be, the slightest increase of force, 
or any marking whatsoever of distance by colour, or any 
other means, between* them and the foreground. 

Compare with these, Turner's treatment of his mate- 
rials in the Mercury and Argus. He has here his light 
actually coming from the distance, the sun being nearly 
in the centre of the picture, and a violent relief of objects 
against it would be far more justifiable than in Poussin's 
case. But this dark relief is used in its full force only 
with the nearest leaves of the nearest group of foliage 



overhanging the foreground from the left : and between 
these and the more distant members of the same group, 
though only three or four yards separate j distinct aerial 
perspective and intervening mist and light are shown ; 
while the large tree in the centre, though very dark, as 
being very near, compared with all the distance, is much 
diminished in intensity of shade from this nearest group 
of leaves, and is faint compared with all the foreground. 
It is true that this tree has not, in consequence, the actual 
pitch of shade against the sky which it would have in 
nature ; but it has precisely as much as it possibly can 
have, to leave it the same proportionate relation to the 
objects near at hand. And it cannot but be evident to 
the thoughtful reader, that whatever trickery or deception 
may be the result of a contrary mode of treatment, this is 
the only scientific or essentially truthful system, and that 
what it loses in tone it gains in aerial perspective. 

Compare again the last vignette in Rogers's Poems, the 
" Datur Hora Quieti," where everything, even the darkest 
parts of the trees, is kept pale and full of graduation ; 
even the bridge where it crosses the descending stream of 
sunshine, rather lost in the light than relieved against it, 
until we come up to the foreground, and then the vigor- 
ous local black of the plough throws the whole picture 
into distance and sunshine. I do not know anything in 
art which can for a moment be set beside this drawing 
for united intensity of light and repose. 

Observe, I am. not at present speaking of the beauty or 
desirableness of the system of the old masters ; it may be 
sublime, and affecting, and ideal, and intellectual, and a 
great deal more ; but all I am concerned with at present 
is, that it is not true / while Turner's is the closest and 
most studied approach to truth of which the materials of 
art admit. 

It was not, therefore, with reference to this division of 



the subject that I admitted inferiority iu our great mod- 
ern master to Claude or Poussin, but with reference to 
the second and more usual meaning of the word "tone" 
— the exact relation and fitness of shadow and light, and 
of the hues of all objects under them; and more espe- 
cially that precious quality of each colour laid on, which 
makes it appear a quiet colour illuminated, not a bright 
colour in shade. But I allow this inferiority only with 
respect to the paintings of Turner, not to his drawings. 
I could select from among the works named in Chap. IX. 
of this section, pieces of tone absolutely faultless and per- 
fect, from the coolest grays of wintry dawn to the intense 
fire of summer noon. And the difference between the 
prevailing character of these and that of nearly all the 
paintings (for the early oil pictures of Turner are far less 
perfect in tone than the most recent,) it is difficult to 
account for, but on the supposition that there is some- 
thing in the material which modern artists in general are 
incapable of mastering, and which compels Turner him- 
self to think less of tone in oil color, than of other and 
more important qualities. The total failures of Callcott, 
whose struggles after tone ended so invariably in shiver- 
ing winter or brown paint, the misfortune of Landseer 
with his evening sky in 1842, the frigidity of Stanfield, 
and the earthiness and opacity which all the magnificent 
power and admirable science of Etty are unable entirely 
to conquer, are too fatal and convincing proofs of the 
want of knowledge of means, rather than of the absence 
of aim, in modern artists as a body. Yet, with respect to 
Turner, however much the want of tone in his early 
paintings (the Fall of Carthage, for instance, and others 
painted at a time when he was producing the most 
exquisite hues of light in water-color) might seem to 
favor such a supposition, there are passages in his recent 
works (such, for instance, as the sunlight along the sea, in 



the Slaver) which directly contradict it, and which prove 
to its that where he now errs in tone, (as in the Cicero's 
Villa,) it is less owing to want of power to reach it, than 
to the pursuit of some different and nobler end. I shall 
therefore glance at the particular modes in which Turner 
manages his tone in his present Academy pictures; the 
early ones must be given up at once. Place a genuine 
untouched Claude beside the Crossing the Brook, and the 
difference in value and tenderness of tone will be felt in 
an instant, and felt the more painfully because all the cool 
and transparent qualities of Claude would have been here 
desirable, and in their place, and appear to have been 
aimed at. The foreground of the Building of Carthage, 
and the greater part of the architecture of the Fall, are 
equally heavy and evidently paint, if we compare them 
with genuine passages of Claude's sunshine. There is a 
very grand and simple piece of tone in the possession of 
J. Allnutt, Esq., a sunset behind willows, but even this is 
wanting in refinement of shadow, and is crude in its 
extreme distance. Isot so with the recent Academy pic- 
tures ; many of their passages are absolutely faultless ; all 
are refined and marvellous, and with the exception of the 
Cicero's Villa, we shall find few pictures painted within 
the last ten years which do not either present us with per- 
fect tone, or with some higher beauty, to which it is neces- 
sarily sacrificed. If we glance at the requirements of 
nature, and her superiority of means to ours, we shall see 
why and how it is sacrificed. 

Light, with reference to the tone it induces on objects, 
is either to be considered as neutral and white, bringing 
out local colours with fidelity ; or colo ured, and conse- 
quently modifying these local tints, with its own. But 
the power of pure white light to exhibit local colour is 
strangely variable. The morning light of about nine or 
ten is usually very pure ; but the difference of its effect on 



different days, independently of mere brilliancy, is as 
inconceivable as inexplicable. Every one knows how 
capriciously the colours of a fine opal vary from day to 
day, and how rare the lights are which bring them fully 
out. Now the expression of the strange, penetrating, 
deep, neutral light, which, while it alters no colour, 
brings every colour up to the highest possible pitch and 
key of pure, harmonious intensity, is the chief attribute 
of finely-toned pictures by the great colourists as opposed 
to pictures of equally high tone, by masters who, careless 
of colour, are content, like Cuyp, to lose local tints in the 
golden blaze of absorbing light. 

Falsehood, in this neutral tone, if it may be so called, 
is a matter far more of feeling than of proof, for any 
colour is possible under such lights ; it is meagreness and 
feebleness only which are to be avoided ; and these are 
rather matters of sensation than of reasoning. But it is 
yet easy enough to prove by what exaggerated and false 
means the pictures most celebrated for this quality are 
endowed with their richness and solemnity of colour. In 
the Bacchus and Ariadne of Titian, it is difficult to imag- 
ine anything more magnificently impossible than the blue 
of the distant landscape ; — impossible, not from its vivid- 
ness, but because it is not faint and aerial enough to 
account for its purity of colour ; it is too dark and blue at 
the same time ; and there is indeed so total a want of 
atmosphere in it, that, but for the difference of form, it 
would be impossible to tell the mountains (intended to be 
ten miles off) from the robe of Ariadne close to the spec- 
tator. Yet make this blue faint, aerial, and distant — 
make it in the slightest degree to resemble the truth of 
nature's colour — and all the tone of the picture, all its 
intensity and splendour, will vanish on the instant. So 
again, in the exquisite and inimitable little bit of colour, 
the Europa in the Dulwich Gallery ; the blue of the dark 



promontory on the left is thoroughly absurd and impossi- 
ble, and the warm tones of the clouds equally so, unless 
it were sunset; but the blue especially, because it is 
nearer than several points of land which are equally in 
shadow, and yet are rendered in warm gray. But the 
whole value and tone of the picture would be destroyed if 
this blue were altered. 

Now, as much of this kind of richness of tone is always 
given by Turner as is compatible with truth of aerial 
effect ; but he will not sacrifice the higher truths of his 
landscape to mere pitch of colour as Titian does. He 
infinitely prefers having the power of giving extension of 
space, and fulness of form, to that of giving deep melo- 
dies of tone ; he feels too much the incapacity of art, with 
its feeble means of light, to give the abundance of 
nature's gradations ; and therefore it is, that taking pure 
white for his highest expression of light, that even pure 
yellow may give him one more step in the scale of shade, 
he becomes necessarily inferior in richness of effect to the 
old masters of tone, (who always used a golden highest 
light,) but gains by the sacrifice a thousand more essential 
truths. For, though we all know how much more like 
light, in the abstract, a finely-toned warm hue will be to 
the feelings than white, yet it is utterly impossible to mark 
the same number of gradations between such a sobered 
high light and the deepest shadow, which we can between 
this and white ; and as these gradations are absolutely 
necessary to give the facts of form and distance, which, as 
we have above shown, are more important than any truths 
of tone,* Turner sacrifices the richness of his picture to its 
completeness — the manner of the statement to its matter. 
And not only is he right in doing this for the sake of 

* More important, observe, as matters of truth or fact. It may often 
chance that, as a matter of feeling, the tone is the more important of 
the two ; but with this we have here no concern. ' 



space, but he is right also in the abstract question of colour ; 
for as we observed above (p. 112,) it is only the white 
light — the perfect ud modified group of rays — which will 
bring out local colour perfectly ; and if the picture, there- 
fore, is to be complete in its system of colour, that is, if it 
is to have each of the three primitives in their purity, it 
must have white for its highest light, otherwise the purity 
of one of them at least will be impossible. And this leads 
us to notice the second and more frequent quality of light, 
(which is assumed if we make our highest representation 
of it yellow,) the positive hue, namely, which it may itself 
possess, of course modifying whatever local tints it exhib- 
its, and thereby rendering certain colours necessary, and 
certain colours impossible. Under the direct yellow light 
of a descending sun, for instance, pure white and pure 
blue are both impossible ; because the purest whites and 
blues that nature could produce would be turned in some 
degree into gold or green by it ; and when the sun is 
within half a degree of the horizon, if the sky be clear, a 
rose light supersedes the golden one, still more over- 
whelming in its effect on local colour. I have seen the 
pale fresh green of spring vegetation in the gardens of 
Venice, on the Lido side, turned pure russet, or between 
that and crimson, by a vivid sunset of this kind, every 
particle of green colour being absolutely annihilated. 
And so under all coloured lights, (and there are few, from 
dawn to twilight, which are not slightly tinted by some 
accident of atmosphere,) there is a change of local colour, 
which, when in a picture it is so exactly proportioned that 
we feel at once both what the local colours are in them- 
selves, and what is the colour and strength of the light 
upon them, gives us truth of tone. 

For expression of effects of yellow sunlight, parts 
might be chosen out of the good pictures of Cuyp, which 
have never been equalled in art. But I much doubt if 



there be a single bright Cuyp in the world, which, taken 
as a whole, does not present many glaring solecisms in 
tone. I have not seen many fine pictures of his, which 
were not utterly spoiled by the vermilion dress of some 
principal figure, a vermilion totally unaffected and 
unwarmed by the golden hue of the rest of the picture ; 
and, what is worse, with little distinction, between its own 
illumined and shaded parts, so that it appears altogether 
out of sunshine, the colour of a bright vermilion in dead, 
cold daylight. It is possible that the original colour may 
have gone down in all cases, or that these parts may have 
been villanously repainted : but I am the rather disposed 
to believe them genuine, because even throughout the 
best of his pictures there are evident recurrences of the 
same kind of solecism in other colours — greens for 
instance — as in the steep bank on the right of the largest 
picture in the Dulwich Gallery; and browns, as in the 
lying cow in the same picture, which is in most visible 
and painful contrast with the one standing beside it, 
the flank of the standing one being bathed in breathing 
sunshine, and the reposing one laid in with as dead, 
opaque, and lifeless brown as ever came raw from a 
novice's pallet. And again, in that marked 83, while 
the figures on the right are walking in the most precious 
light, and those just beyond them in the distance leave a 
furlong or two of pure visible sunbeams between us and 
them, the cows in the centre are entirely deprived, poor 
things, of both light and air. And these failing parts, 
though they often escape the eye when we are near the 
picture and able to dwell upon what is beautiful in it, yet 
so injure its whole effect that I question if there be many 
Cuyps in which vivid colours occur, which will not lose 
their effect, and become cold and flat at a distance of ten 
or twelve paces, retaining their influence only when the 
eye is close enough to rest on the right parts without in- 



eluding the whole. Take, for instance, the large one in 
our National Gallery, seen from the opposite door, where 
the black cow appears a great deal nearer than the dogs, 
and the golden tones of the distance look like a sepia 
drawing rather than like sunshine, owing chiefly to the 
utter want of aerial grays indicated through them. 

Now, there is no instance in the works of Turner of 
anything so faithful and imitative of sunshine as the best 
parts of Cuyp; but at the same time, there is not a single 
vestige of the same kind of solecism. It is true, that in 
his fondness for colour, Turner is in the habit of allowing 
excessively cold fragments in his warmest pictures ; but 
these are never, observe, warm colours with no light upon 
them, useless as contrasts while they are discords in the 
tone ; but they are bits of the very coolest tints, partially 
removed from the general influence, and exquisitely valu- 
able as colour, though, with all deference be it spoken, I 
think them sometimes slightly destructive of what would 
otherwise be perfect tone. For instance, the two blue and 
white stripes on the drifting flag of the Slave Ship, are, I 
think, the. least degree too purely cool. I think both the 
blue and white would be impossible under such a light ; 
and in the same way the white parts of the dress of the 
Napoleon interfered by their coolness with the perfectly 
managed warmth of all the rest of the picture. But both 
these lights are reflexes, and it is nearly impossible to say 
what tones may be assumed even by the warmest light re- 
flected from a cool surface ; so that we cannot actually 
convict these parts of falsehood, and though we should 
have liked the tone of the picture better had they been 
slightly warmer, we cannot but like the colour of the pic- 
ture better with them as they are ; while Cuyp's failing 
portions are not only evidently and demonstrably false, 
being in direct light, but are as disagreeable in colour as 
false in tone, and injurious to everything near them. And 



the best proof of the grammatical accuracy of the tones of 
Turner is in the perfect and unchanging influence of all 
his pictures at any distance. We approach only to follow 
the sunshine into every cranny of the leafage, and retire 
only to feel it diffused over the scene, the whole picture 
glowing like a sun or star at whatever distance we stand, 
and lighting the air between us and it ; while many even 
of the best pictures of Claude must be looked close into 
to be felt, and lose light every foot that we retire. The 
smallest of the three seaports in the National Gallery is 
valuable and right in tone when we are close to it ; but 
ten yards off, it is all brick-dust, offensively and evidently 
false in its whole hue. 

The comparison of Turner with Cuyp and Claude may 
sound strange in most ears ; but this is chiefly because we 
are not in the habit of analyzing and dwelling upon those 
difficult and daring passages of the modern master which 
do not at first appeal to our ordinary notions of truth, 
owing to his habit of uniting two, three, or even more 
separate tones in the same composition. In this also he 
strictly follows nature, for wherever climate changes, tone 
changes, and the climate changes with every 200 feet of 
elevation, so that the upper clouds are always different in 
tone from the lower ones, these from the rest of the land- 
scape, and in all probability, some part of the horizon 
from the rest. And when nature allows this in a high 
degree, as in her most gorgeous effects she always will, 
she does not herself impress at once with intensity of tone, 
as in the deep and quiet yellows of a July evening, but 
rather with the magnificence and variety of associated col- 
our, in which, if we give time and attention to it, we shall 
gradually find the solemnity and the depth of twenty 
tones instead of one. Now in Turner's power of associat- 
ing cold with warm light, no one has ever approached, or 
even ventured into the same field with him. The old 



masters, content with one simple tone, sacrificed to its 
unity all the exquisite gradations and varied touches of 
relief and change by which nature unites her hours with 
each other. They gave the warmth of the sinking sun, 
overwhelming all things in its gold; but they did not 
give those gray passages about the horizon where, seen 
through its dying light, the cool and the gloom of night 
gather themselves for their victory. Whether it was 
in them impotence or judgment, it is not for me to 
decide. I have only to point to the daring of Turner 
in this respect, as something to which art affords no mat- 
ter of comparison, as that in which the mere attempt is, 
in itself, superiority. Take the evening effect with the 
Temeraire. That picture will not, at the first glance, de- 
ceive as a piece of actual sunlight; but this is because 
there is in it more than sunlight, because under the blaz- 
ing veil of vaulted fire which lights the vessel on her last 
path, there is a blue, deep, desolate hollow of darkness, out 
of which you can hear the voice of the night wind, and 
the dull boom of the disturbed sea; because the cold, 
deadly shadows of the twilight are gathering through 
every sunbeam, and moment by moment as you look, you 
will fancy some new film and faintness of the night has 
risen over the vastness of the departing form, l m. p. 138. 



§ 1. Haying seen the grounds (4 M. P., 15) on which 
to explain and justify Turner's choice of facts, we pro- 
ceed to examine finally those modes of representing 
them introduced by him ; — modes so utterly at variance 
with the received doctrines on the subject of art, as to 
cause his works to be regarded with contempt, or severe 
blame, by all reputed judges, at the period of their first 
appearance. And, chiefly, I must confirm and farther 
illustrate the general statements made respecting light and 
shade in the chapters on Truth of Tone, and on Infinity, 
deduced from the great fact (p. 106, chapter on Truth 
of Tone) that " nature surpasses us in power of obtaining 
light as much as the sun surpasses white paper." I found 
that this part of the book was not well understood, because 
people in general have no idea how much the sun does sur- 
pass white paper. In order to know this practically, let 
the reader take a piece of pure white drawing-paper, and 
place it in the position in which a drawing is usually seen. 
This is, properly, upright (all drawings being supposed to 
be made on vertical planes), as a picture is seen on a room 
wall. Also, the usual place in which paintings or draw- 
ings are seen is at some distance from a window, with a 
gentle side light* falling upon them, front lights being un- 
favorable to nearly all drawing. Therefore the highest 

* Light from above is the same thing with reference to our present 



light an artist can ordinarily command for his work is that 
of white paint, or paper, under a gentle side light. But 
if we wished to get as much light as possible, and to place 
the artist under the most favorable circumstances, we 
should take the drawing near the window. Put therefore 
your white paper upright, and take it to the window. Let 
a c, c d, be two sides of your d 
room, with a window at b b. 
Under ordinary circumstances 
your picture would be hung at 
e, or in some such position on 
the wall c d. First, therefore, 
put your paper upright at 
and then bring it gradually to 
the window, in the successive 
positions g, and (opening the ' 
window) finally at p. You will notice that as you come 
nearer the window the light gradually increases on the 
paper ; so that in the position atj[?it is far better lighted 
than it was at e. If, however, the sun actually falls upon 
it at j?,- the experiment is unfair, for the picture is not 
meant to be seen in sunshine, and your object is to com- 
pare pure white paper, as ordinarily used, with sunshine. 
So either take a time when the sun does not shine at all, 
or does not'shine in the window where the experiment is 
to be tried ; or else keep the paper so far within the win- 
dow that the sun may not touch it. Then the experiment 
is perfectly fair, and you will find that you have the paper 
at p in full, serene, pictorial light, of the best kind, and 
highest attainable power. 

§ 2. Now, leaning a little over the window sill, bring 
the edge of the paper at p against the sky, rather low 
down on the horizon (I suppose you choose a fine day for 
the experiment, that the sun is high, and the sky clear 
blue, down to the horizon). The moment you bring your 



white paper against the sky you will be startled to find 
this bright white paper suddenly appear in shade. You 
Will draw it back, thinking you have changed its position. 
But no ; the paper is not in shade. It is as bright as ever 
it was ; brighter than under ordinary circumstances it 
ever can be. But, behold, the blue sky of the horizon is 
far brighter. The one is indeed blue, and the other white, 
but the white is darkest* and by a great deal. And you 
will, though perhaps not for the first time in your life, 
perceive that though black is not easily proved to be white, 
white may, under certain circumstances, be very nearly 
proved black, or at all events brown. 

§ 3. When this fact is first shown to them, the general 
feeling with most people is, that, by being brought against 
the sky, the white paper is somehow or other brought "into 
shade." But this is not so ; the paper remains exactly as it 
was ; it is only compared with an actually brighter hue, 
and looks darker by comparison. The circumstances are 
precisely like those which affect our sensations of heat and 
cold. If, when by chance we have one hand warm, and 
another cold, we feel, with each hand, water warmed to 
an intermediate decree, we shall first declare the water to 
be cold, and then to be warm ; but the water has a definite 
heat wholly independent of our sensations, and accurately 
ascertainable by a thermometer. So it is with light and 
shade. Looking from the bright sky to the white paper, 
we affirm the white paper to be " in shade," — that is, it 
produces on us a sensation of darkness, by comparison. 
But the hue of the paper, and that of the sky, are just as 
fixed as temperatures are; and the sky is actually a 
brighter thing than white paper, by a certain number of 
degrees of light, scientifically determinable. In the same 

* For which reason, I said in the Appendix to the third volume, 
that the expression " finite realization of infinity " was a considerably 
less rational one than " black realization of white." 



way, every other colour, or force of colour, is a fixed thing;, 
not dependent on sensation, but numerically representable 
with as much exactitude as a degree of heat by a thermom- 
eter. And of these hues, that of open sky is one not pro- 
ducible by human art. The sky is not blue colour merely, 
— it is blue fire, and cannot be painted. 

§ 4. Next, observe, this blue fire has in it white fire ; 
that is, it has white clouds, as much brighter than itself as 
it is brighter than the white paper. So, then, above this 
azure light, we have another equally exalted step of white 
light. Supposing the value of the light of the pure white 
paper represented by the number 10, then that of the blue 
sky will be (approximately) about 20, and of the white 
clouds 30. 

But look at the white clouds carefully, and it will be 
seen they are not all of the same white ; parts of them are 
quite grey compared with other parts, and they are as full 
of passages of light and shade as if they were of solid 
earth. Nevertheless, their most deeply shaded part is 
that already so much lighter than the blue sky, which has 
brought us up to our number 30, and all these high lights 
of white are some 10 degrees above that, or, to white 
paper, as 40 to 10. And now if you look from the blue sky 
and white clouds towards the sun, you will find that this 
cloud white, which is four times as white as white paper, 
is quite dark and lightless compared with those silver 
clouds that burn nearer the sun itself, which you cannot 
gaze upon, — an infinite of brightness. How will you 
estimate that ? 

And yet to express all this, we have but our poor white 
paper after all. We must not talk too proudly of our 
" truths " of art ; I am afraid we shall have to let a good 
deal of black fallacy into it, at the best. 

§ 5. Well, of the sun, and of the silver clouds, we will 
not talk for the present. But this principal fact we have 



learned by our experiment with the white paper, that, taken 
all in all, the calm sky, with such light and shade as are 
in it, is brighter than the earth ; brighter them the whitest 
thing on eai'th which has not, at the moment of compari- 
son, heaven's own direct light on it. "Which fact it is gene- 
rally one of the first objects of noble painters to render. 
I have already marked one part of their aim in doing so, 
namely, the expression of infinity ; but the opposing of 
heavenly light to earth-darkness is another most important 
one ; and of all ways of rendering a picture generally im- 
pressive, this is the simplest and surest. Make the sky 
calm and luminous, and raise against it dark trees, moun- 
tains, or towers, or any other substantial or terrestrial 
thing, in bold outline, and the mind accepts the assertion 
of this great and solemn truth with thankfulness. 

§ 6. But this may be done either nobly or basely, as 
any other solemn truth may be asserted. It may be 
spoken with true feeling of all that it means ; or it may 
be declared, as a Turk declares that " God is great," when 
he means only that he himself is lazy. The " heaven is 
bright," of many vulgar painters, has precisely the same 
amount of signification ; it means that they know 
nothing — will do nothing — are without thought — with- 
out care — without passion. They will not walk the earth, 
nor watch the ways of it, nor gather the flowers of 
it. They will sit in the shade, and only assert that 
very perceptible, long-ascertained fact, " heaven is 
bright." And as it may be asserted basely, so it may be 
accepted basely. Many of our capacities for receiving 
noblest emotion are abused in mere idleness, for pleasure's 
sake, and people take the excitement of a solemn sensa- 
tion as they do that of a strong drink. Thus the aban- 
doned court of Louis XIV. had on fast days its sacred 
concerts, doubtless entering in some degree into the reli- 
gious expression of the music, and thus idle and frivolous 



women at the present day will weep at an oratorio. So 
the snblimest effects of landscape may be sought through 
mere indolence; and even those who are not ignorant, or 
dull, judge often erroneously of such effects of art, be- 
cause their very openness to all pleasant and sacred associa- 
tion instantly colours whatever they see, so that, give them 
but the feeblest shadow of a thing they love, they are in- 
stantly touched by it to the heart, and mistake their own 
pleasurable feeling for the result of the painter's power. 
Thus when, by spotting and splashing, such a painter as 
Constable reminds them somewhat of wet grass and green 
leaves, forthwith they fancy themselves in all the happi- 
ness of a meadow walk ; and when G-aspar Poussin throws 
out his yellow horizon with black hills, forthwith they are 
touched as by the solemnity of a real Italian twilight, al- 
together forgetting that wet grass and twilight do not con- 
stitute the universe ; and prevented by their joy at being 
pleasantly cool, or gravely warm, from seeking any of those 
more precious truths which cannot be caught by momen- 
tary sensation, but must be thoughtfully pursued. 

§ 7. I say " more precious," for the simple fact that the 
sky is brighter than the earth is not a precious truth un- 
less the earth itself be first understood. Despise the earth, 
or slander it ; fix your eyes on its gloom, and forget its 
loveliness ; and we do not thank you for your languid or 
despairing perception of brightness in heaven. But rise 
np actively on the earth, — learn what there is in it, know 
its colour and form, and the full measure and make of it, 
and if after that you can say " heaven is bright," it will be 
a precious truth, but not till then. Giovanni Bellini 
knows the earth well, paints it to the full, and to the 
smallest fig-leaf and falling flower, — blue hill and white- 
walled city, — glittering- robe and golden hair; to each he 
will give its lustre and loveliness ; and then, so far as with 
his poor human lips he may declare it, far beyond all 



these, he proclaims that " heaven is bright." But Gaspar, 
and such other landscapists, painting all Nature's flowery 
ground as one barrenness, and all her fair foliage as one 
blackness, and all her exquisite forms as one bluntness ; 
when, in this sluggard gloom and sullen treachery of heart, 
they mutter their miserable attestation to what others had 
long ago discerned for them, — the sky's brightness, — we 
do not thank them ; or thank them only in so far as, even 
in uttering this last remnant of truth, they are more com- 
mendable than those who have sunk from apathy to athe- 
ism, and declare, in their dark and hopeless backgrounds, 
that heaven is not bright. 

§ 8. Let us next ascertain what are the colours of the 
earth itself. 

A mountain five or six miles off, in a sunny summer 
morning in Switzerland, will commonly present itself in 
some such pitch of dark force, as related to the sky, as 
that shown in Fig. 4. Plate 25, while the sky itself wull 
still, if there are white clouds in it, tell as a clear dark, 
throwing out those white clouds in vigorous relief of light; 
yet, conduct the experiment of the white paper as already 
described, and you will, in all probability, find that the 
darkest part of the mountain — its most vigorous nook of 
almost black-looking shadow — is whiter than the paper. 

The figure given represents the apparent colour * of 
the top of the Aiguille Bouchard (the mountain wdiich is 
seen from the village of Chamouni, on the other side of 
the Glacier des Bois), distant, by Forbes's map, a furlong 
or two less than four miles in a direct line from the point 
of observation. The observation was made on a warm 
sunny morning, about eleven o'clock, the sky clear blue ; 
, the mountain seen against it, its shadows grey purple, and 

* The colour, but not the form. I wanted the contour of the top of 
the Br even for reference in another place, and have therefore given it 
instead of that of the Bouchard, but in the proper depth of tint. 



its sunlit parts greenish. Then the darkest part of the 
mountain was lighter than pure white paper, held upright 
in full light at the window,. parallel to the direction in 
which the light entered. And it will thus generally he 
found impossible to represent, in any of its true colours, 
scenery distant more than two or three miles, in full day- 
light. The deepest shadows are whiter than white paper. 

§ 9. As, however, we pass to nearer objects, true repre- 
sentation gradually becomes possible ; — to what degree is 
always of course ascertainable accurately by the same 
mode of experiment. Bring the edge of the paper against 
the thing to be drawn, and on that edge — as precisely as 
a lady would match the colours of two pieces of a dress — 
.match the colour of the landscape (with a little opacpie 
white mixed in the tints you use, so as to render it easy 
to lighten or darken them). Take care not to imitate 
the tint as you believe it to be, but accurately as it is; 
so that the coloured edge of the paper shall not be dis- 
cernible from the colour of the landscape. You will 
then find (if before inexperienced) that shadows of trees, 
which you thought were dark green or black, are pale 
violets and purples ; that lights, which you thought were 
green, are intensely yellow, brown, or golden, and most of 
them far too bright to be matched at all. AYhen you have 
got all the irnitable hues truly matched, sketch the masses 
of the landscape out completely in those true and ascer- 
tained colours ; and you will find, to your amazement, that 
you have painted it in the colours of Turner, — in those 
very colours which perhaps you have been laughing at all 
your life, — the fact being that he, and he alone, of all 
men, ever pai?ited Nature in her own colours. 

§ 10. " Well, but," you will answer, impatiently, " how 
is it, if they are the true colours, that they look so un- 

Because they are not shown in true contrast to the sky, 



and to other high lights. Nature paints her shadows in 
j)ale purple, and then raises her lights of heaven and 
sunshine to such height that the pale purple becomes, by 
comparison, a vigorous dark* But poor Turner has no 
sun at his command to oppose his pale colours. He fol- 
lows Nature submissively as far as he can; puts pale 
purple where she does, bright gold where she does ; and 
then when, on the summit of the slope of light, she opens 
her wings and quits the earth altogether, burning into in- 
effable sunshine, what can he do but sit helpless, stretching 
his hands towards her in calm consent, as she leaves him 
and mocks at him ! 

§ 11. " Well," but you will farther ask, " is this right 
or wise? ought not the contrast between the masses be 
given, rather than the actual hues of a few parts of them, 
when the others are inimitable ? " 

Yes, if this were possible, it ought to be done ; but the 
true contrasts can never be given. The whole question 
is simply whether you will be false at one side of the scale 
or at the other, — that is, whether you will lose yourself in 
light or in darkness. This necessity is easily expressible 
in numbers. Suppose the utmost light you wish to imi- 
tate is that of serene, feebly lighted, clouds in ordinary 
sky (not sun or stars, which it is, of course, impossible de- 
ceptively to imitate in painting by any artifice). Then, 
suppose the degrees of shadow between those clouds and 
Nature's utmost darkness accurately measured, and divided 
into a hundred degrees (darkness being zero). Next we 
measure our own scale, calling our utmost possible black, 
zero ; f and we shall be able to keep parallel with Nature, 
perhaps up to as far as her 10 degrees ; all above that 
being whiter than our white paper. Well, with our power 

* Scarlet Shadows, 5 M. T., 333. 

f Even here we shall be defeated by Nature, her utmost darkness 
being deeper than ours. 



of contrast between zero and 40, we have to imitate her 
contrasts between zero and 100. Now, if we want true 
contrasts, we can first set our 40 to represent her 100, our 
20 for her 80, and our zero for her 60 ; everything below 
her 60 being lost in blackness. This is with certain modi- 
fications, Rembrandt's system. Or, secondly, we can put 
zero for her zero, 20 for her 20, and 40 for her 40 ; every- 
thing above 40 being lost in whiteness,. This is, with cer- 
tain modifications, Paul Veronese's system. Or, finally, 
we can. put our zero for her zero, and our 40 for her 100 ; 
our 20 for her 50, our 30 for her 75, and our ten for her 
25, proportioning the intermediate contrasts accordingly. 
This is, with certain modifications, Turner's system ; * the 
modifications, in each case, being the adoption, to a cer- 
tain extent, of either of the other systems. Thus, Turner 
inclines to Paul Veronese ; liking, as far as possible, to 
get his hues perfectly true up to a certain point, — that is 
to say, to let his zero stand for Nature's zero, and his 10 
for her 10, and his 20 for her 20, and then to expand 
towards the light by quick but cunning steps, putting 27 
for 50, 30 for 70, and reserving some force still for the 
last 90 to 100. So Pembrandt modifies his system on the 
other side, putting his 40 for 100, his 30 for 90, his 20 for 
80; then going subtly downwards, 10 for 50, 5 for 30; 
nearly everything between 30 and zero being lost in gloom, 
yet so as still to reserve his zero for zero. The systems 
expressed in tabular form will stand thus : — 

Nature. Rembrandt. Turner. Veronese. 

10 1 10 10 

20 3 20 20 

* When the clouds are brilliantly lighted, it may rather be, as stated 
above, in the proportion of 100 to 40. I take the number 100 as more 




































§ 12. Now it is evident that in Rembrandt's system, while 
the contrasts are not more right than with Veronese, the 
colours are all wrong, from beginning to end. With Tur- 
ner and Veronese, Nature's 10 is their 10, and Nature's 
20 their 20 ; enabling them to give pure truth up to a 
certain point. But with Rembrandt not one colour is ab- 
solutely true, from one side of the scale to the other ; only 
the contrasts are true at the top of the scale. Of course, 
this supposes Rembrandt's system applied to a subject 
which shall try it to the utmost, such as landscape. Rem- 
brandt generally chose subjects in which the real coluors 
were very nearly imitable, — as single heads with dark 
backgrounds, in which Nature's highest light was little 
above his own ; her 40 being then truly representable by 
his 40, his picture became nearly an absolute truth. But 
his system is only right when applied to such subjects : 
clearly, when we have the full scale of natural light to 
deal with, Turner's and Veronese's convey the greatest 
sum of truth. But not the most complete deception, for 
people are so much more easily and instinctively impressed 
by force of light than truth of colour, that they instantly 
miss the relative power of the sky, and the upper tones ; 
and all the true local colouring looks strange to them, 
separated from its adjuncts of high light ; whereas, give 
them the true contrast of light, and they will not ob- 
serve the false local colour. Thus all Gaspar Poussin's 



and Salvator's pictures, and all effects obtained by leaving 
liigli lights in the midst of exaggerated darkness, catch 
the eye, and are received for true, while the pure truth of 
Veronese and Turner is rejected as unnatural ; only not 
so much in Veronese's case as in Turner's, because Vero- 
nese confines himself to more imitable things, as draperies, 
figures, and architecture, in which his exquisite truth, at 
the bottom of the scale tells on the eye at once ; but Tur- 
ner works a good deal also (see the table) at the top of the 
natural scale, dealing with effects of sunlight and other 
phases of the upper colours, more or less inimitable, and 
betraying therefore, more or less, the artifices used to ex- 
press them. It will be observed, also, that in order to 
reserve some force for the top of iris scale, Turner is 
obliged to miss his gradations chiefly in middle tints (see 
the table), where the feebleness is sure to be felt. His 
principal point for missing the midmost gradations is al- 
most always between the earth and sky ; he draws the 
earth truly as far as he can, to the horizon ; then the sky 
as far as he can, with his 30 to 40 part of the scale. They 
run together at the horizon ; and the spectator complains 
that there is no distinction between earth and sky, or that 
the earth does not look solid enough. 

§ 13. In the upper portions of the three j)illars 5, 6, 7, 
Plate 25, are typically represented these three conditions 
of light and shade, characteristic, 5, of Rembrandt, 6, of 
Turner, and 7, of Veronese. The pillar to be drawn is 
supposed, in all the three cases, white ; Rembrandt repre- 
sents it as white on its highest light; and, getting the true 
gradations between this highest light and extreme dark, is 
reduced to his zero, or black, for the dark side of the white 
object. This first pillar also represents the system of Leo- 
nardo da Vinci. In the room of the Louvre appropriated 
to Italian drawings is a study of a piece of drapery by 
Leonardo. Its lights are touched with the finest white 



chalk, and its shadows wrought, through exquisite grada- 
tions, to utter blackness. The pillar 6 is drawn on the 
system of Turner; the high point of light is still distinct: 
but even the darkest part of the shaft is kept pale, and the 
gradations which give the roundness are wrought out with 
the utmost possible delicacy. The third shaft is drawn on 
Veronese's system. The light, though still focused, is 
more diffused than with Turner ; and a slight flatness re- 
sults from the determination that the fact of the shaft's 
being lohite shall be discerned more clearly even than 
that it is round ; and that its darkest part shall still be 
capable of brilliant relief, as a white mass, from other ob- 
jects round it. 

§ 14. This resolution, on Veronese's part, is owing to the 
profound respect for the colours of objects which neces- 
sarily influenced him, as the colourist at once the most 
brilliant and the most tender of all painters of the elder 
schools ; and it is necessary for us briefly to note the way 
in which this greater or less respect for local colour influ- 
ences the system of the three painters in light and shade. 

Take the whitest piece of note-paper you can find, put 
a blot of ink upon it, carry it into the sunshine, and hold 
it fully fronting the sunshine, so as to make the paper look 
as dazzling as possible, but not to let the wet blot of ink 
shine. You will then find the ink look intensely black, — • 
blacker, in fact, than anywhere else, owing to its vigorous 
contrast with the dazzling paper. 

Remove the paper from the sunshine. The ink will not 
look so black. Carry the paper gradually into the darkest 
part of the room, and the contrast will as gradually ap- 
pear to diminish ; and, of course, in darkness, the distinc- 
tion between the black and the white vanishes. Wet ink 
is as perfect a representative as is by any means attainable 
of a perfectly dark colour ; that is, of one which absorbs 
all the light that falls on it; and the nature of such 



a colour is best understood by considering it as a piece of 
portable night. Now, of course, the higher you raise the 
daylight about this bit of night, the more vigorous is the 
contrast between the two. And, therefore, as a general 
rule, the higher you raise the light on any object with a 
pattern or stain upon it, the more distinctly that pattern 
or stain is seen. 

But observe : the distinction between the full black of 
ink, and full white of paper, is the utmost reach of 
light and dark possible to art. Therefore, if this contrast 
is to be represented truly, no deeper black can ever be 
given in any shadow than that offered at once, as local 
colour, in a full black pattern, on the highest light. And, 
where colour is the principal object of the picture, that 
colour must, at all events, be as right as possible where it 
is best seen, i.e. in the lights. Hence the principle of Paul 
Veronese, and of all the great Venetian colourists, is to 
use full black for full black in high light, letting the 
shadow shift for itself as best it may ; and sometimes 
even putting the local black a little darker in light than 
shadow, in order to give the more vigorous contrast noted 
above. Let the pillars in Plate 25 be supposed to have a 
black mosaic pattern on the lower part of their shafts. 
Paul Veronese's general practice will be, as at 7, having 
marked the rounding of the shaft as well as he can in the 
white parts, to paint the pattern with one even black over 
all, reinforcing it, if at all, a little in the light. 

§ 15. Repeat the experiment on the note-paper with a 
red spot of carmine instead of ink. You will now find 
that the contrast in the sunshine appears about the same 
as in the shade — the red and white rising and falling 
together, and dying away together into the darkness. 
The fact, however, is, that the contrast does actually for 
some time increase towards the light; for in utter dark- 
ness the distinction is not visible — the red cannot be dis- 



tinguished from the white ; admit a little light, and the 
contrast is feebly discernible ; admit more, it is distinctly 
discernible. But you cannot increase the contrast beyond 
a certain point. From that point the red and white for 
some time rise very nearly equally in light, or fall 
together very nearly equally in shade ; but the contrast 
will begin to diminish in very high lights, for strong sun- 
light has a tendency to exhibit particles of dust, or any 
sparkling texture in the local colour, and then to diminish 
its power ; so that in order to see local colour well, a cer- 
tain degree of shadow is necessary : for instance, a very 
delicate complexion is not well seen in the sun ; and the 
veins of a marble pillar, or the colours of a picture, can 
only be properly seen in comparative shade. 

§ 16. I will not entangle the reader in the very subtle 
and curious variations of the laws in this matter. The 
simple fact which is necessary for him to observe is, 
that the paler and purer the colour, the more the great 
Yenetian colourists will reinforce it in the shadow, and 
allow it to fall or rise in sympathy with the light ; and 
those especially whose object it is to represent sunshine, 
nearly always reinforce their local colours somewhat in the 
shadows, and keep them both fainter and feebler in the 
light, so that they thus approach a condition of universal 
glow, the full colour being used for the shadow, and a del- 
icate and somewhat subdued hue of it for the light. And 
this to the eye is the loveliest possible condition of colour. 
Perhaps few people have ever asked themselves why they 
admire a rose so much more than all other flowers. If 
they consider, they will find, first, that red is, in a deli- 
cately gradated state, the loveliest of all pure colours ; and 
secondly, that in the rose there is no shadow, except what 
is composed of colour. All its shadows are fuller in colour 
than its lights, owing to the translucency and reflective 
power of its leaves. 



The second shaft, 6, in which the local colour is paler 
towards the tight, and reinforced in the shadow, will 
therefore represent the Venetian system with respect to 
paler colours, and the system, for the most part, even with 
respect to darker colours, of painters who attempt to render 
effects of strong sunlight. Generally, therefore, it repre- 
sents the practice of Turner. The first shaft, 5, exhibits 
the disadvantage of the practice of Rembrandt and 
Leonardo, in that they cannot show the local colour on the 
dark side, since, however energetic, it must at last sink 
into their exaggerated darkness. 

' § 17. JSTow, from all the preceding inquiry, the reader 
must perceive more and more distinctly the great truth, 
that all forms of right art consist in a certain choice made 
between various classes of truths, a few only being repre- 
sented, and others necessarily excluded ; and that the ex- 
cellence of each style depends first on its consistency with 
itself, — the perfect fidelity ', as far as possible, to the truths 
it has chosen • and secondly, on the breadth of its harmo- 
ny, or number of truths it has been able to reconcile, and 
the consciousness with which the truths refused are 
acknowledged, even though they may not be represented. 
A great artist is j ust like a wise and hospitable man with a 
small house : the large companies of truths, like guests, are 
waiting his invitation ; he wisely chooses from among this 
crowd the guests who will be happiest with each other, mak- 
ing those whom he receives thoroughly comfortable, and 
kindly remembering even those whom he excludes ; while 
the foolish host, trying to receive all, leaves a large part of 
his company on the staircase, without even knowing who 
is there, and destroys, by inconsistent fellowship, the 
pleasure of those who gain entrance. 

§ 18. But even those hosts who choose well will be 
farther distinguished from each other by their choice of 
nobler or inferior companies ; and we find the greatest 



artists mainly divided into two groups, — those who paint 
principally with respect to local colour,, headed by Paul 
Veronese, Titian, and Turner ; and those who paint prin- 
cipally with reference to light and shade irrespective of 
colour, headed by Leonardo da Yinci, Rembrandt, and Ra- 
phael. The noblest members of each of these classes intro- 
duce the element proper to the other class, in a subordinate 
way. Paul Veronese introduces a subordinate light and 
shade, and Leonardo introduces a subordinate local colour. 
The main difference is, that with Leonardo, Rembrandt, and 
Raphael, vast masses of the picture are lost in compara- 
tively colourless (dark, grey, or brown) shadow; these 
painters beginning with the lights, and going down to 
blackness; but with Veronese, Titian, and Turner, the 
whole picture is like the rose, — glowing with colour in the 
shadows, and rising into paler and more delicate hues, or 
masses of whiteness, in the lights, they having begun with 
the shadows, and gone up to whiteness. 

§ 19. The colourists have in this respect one dis- 
advantage, and three advantages. The disadvantage is, 
that between their less violent hues, it is not possible to 
draw all the forms which can be represented by the 
exaggerated shadow of the chiaroscurists, and therefore a 
slight tendency to flatness is always characteristic of the 
greater colourists, as opposed to Leonardo or Rembrandt. 
When the form of some single object is to be given, and 
its subtleties are to be rendered to the utmost, the Leonard- 
esque manner of drawing is often very noble. It is 
generally adopted by Albert Durer in his engravings, and 
is very useful, when employed by a thorough master, in 
many kinds of engraving ; * but it is an utterly false 
method of study, as we shall see presently. 

* It is often extremely difficult to distinguish properly between the 
Leonardesque manner, in which local colour is denied altogether, and 
the Turneresque, in which local colour at its highest point in the picture 



§ 20. Of the three advantages possessed by the colourists 
over the cliiaroscurists, the first is, that they have in the 
greater portions of their pictures absolute truth, as shown 
above, § 12, while the cliiaroscurists have no absolute truth 
anywhere. With the colourists the shadows are right; the 
U '(j i hi )s untrue: but with the cJiiaruscu/'ists lights and 
shadows are both untrue The second advantage is, that 
also the relations of colour are broader and vaster with the 
colourists than the cliiaroscurists. Take, for example, that 
piece of drapery studied by Leonardo, in the Louvre, with 
white lights and black shadows. Ask yourself, first, 
whether the real drapery was black or white. If white, 
then its high lights are rightly white ; but its folds being 
black, it could not as a mass be distinguished from the 
black or dark objects in its neighborhood. But the fact 
is, that a white cloth or handkerchief always is distin- 
guished in daylight, as a ivhole white thing, from all that 
is coloured about it : we see at once that there is a white 
piece of stuff, and a red, or green, or grey one near it, as 
the case may be: and this relation of the white object to 
other objects not white, Leonardo has wholly deprived 
himself of the power of expressing ; while, if the cloth 
were black or dark, much more has he erred by making 
its lio'hts white. In either case, he has missed the large 
relation of mass to mass, for the sake of the small one of 

is merged in whiteness. Thus, Albert Durer's noble '"Melancholia" is 
entirely Leonardesque ; the leaves on her head, her flesh, her wings, 
her dress, the wolf, the wooden ball, and the rainbow, being all equally 
white on the high lights. But my drawing of leaves, facing page 125, 
Vol. III. , is Turneresque ; because, though I leave pure white to re- 
present the pale green of leaves and grass in high light, I give definite 
increase of darkness to four of the bramble leaves, which, in reality, 
were purple, and leave a dark withered stalk nearly black, though it is 
in light, where it crosses the leaf in the centre. These distinctions 
could only be properly explained by a lengthy series of examples ; which 
I hope to give some day or other, but have not space for here. 



fold to fold. And this is more or less the case with all 
. chiaroscurists ; with all painters, that is to say, who en- 
deavour in their studies of objects to get rid of the idea of 
colour, and give the abstract shade. They invariably 
exaggerate the shadows, not with respect to the thing 
itself, but with respect to all around it ; and they ex- 
aggerate the lights also, by leaving pure white for the 
high light of what in reality is grey, rose-coloured, or, in 
some way, not white. 

§ 21. This method of study, being peculiarly character- 
istic of the Roman and Florentine schools, and associated 
with very accurate knowledge of form and expression, has 
gradually got to be thought by a large body of artists the 
grand way of study ; an idea which has been fostered all 
the more because it was an unnatural way, and therefore 
thought to be a philosophical one. Almost the first idea 
of a child, or of a simple person looking at anything, is, 
that it is a red, or a black, or a green, or a white thing. 
Nay, say the artists ; that is an unphilosophical and bar- 
barous view of the matter. Red and white are mere 
vulgar appearances ; look farther into the matter, and you 
will see such and such wonderful other appearances. 
Abstract those, they are the heroic, ejfic, historic, and 
generally eligible appearances. And acting on this grand 
principle, they draw flesh white, leaves white, ground 
white, everything white in the light, and everything black 
in the shade — and think themselves wise. But, the longer 
I live, the more ground I see to hold in high honour a 
certain sort of childishness or innocent susceptibility. 
Generally speaking, I find that when we first look at a 
subject, we get a glimpse of some of the greatest truths 
about it: as we look longer, our vanity, and false reasoning, 
and half-knowledge, lead us into various wrong opinions ; 
but as we look longer still, we gradually return to our first 
impressions, only with a full understanding of their 



mystical and innermost reasons ; and of much beyond and 
beside them, not then known to us, now added (partly as a 
foundation, partly as a corollary) to what at first we felt or 
saw. It is thus eminently in this matter of colour. Lay 
your hand over the page of this book, — any child or simple 
person looking at the hand and book, would perceive, as 
the main fact of the matter, that a brownish pink thing- 
was laid over a white one. The grand artist comes and 
tells you that your hand is not pink, and your paper is not 
white. He shades your fingers and shades your book, and 
makes you see all manner of starting veins, and projecting 
muscles, and black hollows, where before you saw nothing 
but paper and fingers. But go a little farther, and you 
will get more innocent again ; you will find that, when 
"science has done its worst, two and two still make four;" 
and that the main and most important facts about your 
hand, so seen, are, after all, that it has four fingers and a 
thumb — showing as brownish pink things on white paper. 

§ 22. I have also been more and more convinced, the 
more I think of it, that in general pride is at the bottom 
of all great mistakes. All the other passions do occa- 
sional good, but whenever pride puts in its word, every- 
thing goes wrong, and what it might really be desirable 
to do, quietly and innocently, it is mortally dangerous to 
do, proudly. Thus, while it is very often good for the 
artist to make studies of things, for the sake of knowing 
their forms, with their high lights all white, the moment 
he does this in a haughty way, and thinks himself drawing 
in the great style, because he leaves high lights white, it is 
all over with him; and half the degradation of art in 
modern times has been owing to endeavours, much fostered 
by the metaphysical Germans, to see things without colour, 
as if colour were a vulgar thing, the result being, in most 
students, that they end by not being able to see anything 
at all ; whereas the true and perfect way of studying any 



object is simply to look what its colour is in high light, and 
put that safely down, if possible ; or, if you are making a 
chiaroscuro study, to take the grey answering to that colour, 
and cover the whole object at once with that grey, firmly 
resolving that no part of it shall be brighter than that; 
then look for the darkest part of it, and if, as is probable, 
its darkest part be still a great deal lighter than black, or 
than other things about it, assume a given shade, as dark 
as, with due reference to other things, you can have it, 
but no darker. Mark that for your extreme dark on the 
object, and between those limits get as much drawing as 
you can, by subtlety of gradation. That will tax your 
powers of drawing indeed ; and you will find this, which 
seems a childish and simple way of going to work, requires 
verily a thousandfold more power to carry out than all the 
pseudo-scientific abstractions that ever were invented. 

§ 23. Nor can it long be doubted that it is also the 
most -impressive way to others ; for the third great advan- 
tage possessed by the coloitrists is, that the delightfulness 
of their picture, its sacredness, and general nobleness, are 
increased exactly in proportion to the quantity of light 
and of lovely colour they can introduce in the shadows* as 
opposed to the black and grey of the chiaroscurists. I have 
already insisted upon the fact of the sacredness of colour, 
and its necessary connection with all pure and noble feel- 
ing. What we have seen of the use of colour by the poets 
will help to confirm this truth ; but perhaps I have not yet 
enough insisted on the simplest and readiest to hand of 
all proofs, — the way, namely, in which Grod has employed 
colour in His creation as the unvarying accompaniment of 
all that is purest, most innocent, and most precious ; while 
for things precious only in material uses, or dangerous, 

* Shadows are colourless, except from reflected light. —5 M. P., 333, 



common colours are reserved. Consider for a little while 
what sort of a world it would be if all flowers were grey, 
all leaves black, and the sky brown. Imagine that, as 
completely as may be, and consider whether you would 
think the world any whit more sacred for being thus trans- 
figured into the hues of the shadows in Raphael's Trans- 
figuration. Then observe how constantly innocent things 
are bright in colour ; look at a dove's neck, and compare 
it with the grey back of a viper ; I have often heard 
talk of brilliantly coloured serpents ; and I suppose there 
are such, — as there are gay poisons, like the foxglove and 
kalmia — types of deceit ; but all the venomous serpents I 
have really seen are grey, brick-red, or brown, variously mot- 
tled ; and the most awful serpent I have seen, the Egyptian 
asp, is precisely of the colour of gravel, or only a little 
greyer. So, again, the crocodile and alligator are grey, 
but the innocent lizard green and beautiful. I do not 
mean that the rule is invariable, otherwise it would be more 
convincing than the lessons of the natural universe are in- 
tended ever to be ; there are beautiful colours on the leo- 
pard and tiger, and in the berries of the nightshade ; and 
there is nothing very notable in brilliancy of colour either 
in sheep or cattle (though, by the way, the velvet of a 
brown bull's hide in the sun, or the tawny white of the 
Italian oxen, is, to my mind, lovelier than any leopard's or 
tiger's skin) : but take a wider view of nature, and com- 
pare generally rainbows, sunrises, roses, violets, butterflies, 
birds, gold-fish, rubies, opals, and corals, with alligators, 
hippopotami, lions, wolves, bears, swine, sharks, slugs, 
bones, fungi,* fogs, and corrupting, stinging, destroying 
things in general, and you will feel then how the question 

* It is notable, however, that nearly all the poisonous agarics are 
scarlet or speckled, and wholesome ones brown or grey, as if to show 
us that things rising out of darkness and decay are always most deadly 
when they are well drest. 



stands between the colpurists and chiaroscurists, — which of 
them have nature and life on their side, and which have 
sin and death. 

§ 24. Finally : the ascertainment of the sanctity of 
colour is not left to human sagacity. It is distinctly 
stated in Scripture. I have before alluded to the sacred 
chord of colour (blue, purple, and scarlet, with white and 
gold) as appointed in the Tabernacle ; this chord is the 
fixed base of all colouring with the workmen of every great 
age ; the purple and scarlet will be found constantly em- 
ployed by noble painters, in various unison, to the exclusion 
in general of pure crimson ; — it is the harmony described 
by Herodotus as used in the battlements of Ecbatana, 
and the invariable base of all beautiful missal-painting ; 
the mistake continually made b}^ modern restorers, in sup- 
posing the purple to be a faded crimson, and substituting 
full crimson for it, being instantly fatal to the whole work, 
as, indeed, the slightest modification of any hue in a per- 
fect colour-harmony must always be.* In this chord the 
scarlet is the powerful colour, and is on the whole the 
most perfect representation of abstract colour which 
exists ; blue being in a certain degree associated with 
shade, yellow with light, and scarlet, as absolute colour, 
standing alone. Accordingly, we find it used, together 
with cedar wood, hyssop, and running water, as an emblem 
of purification, in Leviticus xiv. 4, and other places, and 
so used not merely as the representative of the colour of 
blood, since it was also to be dipped in the actual blood of 
a living bird. So that the cedar wood for its perfume, the 
hyssop for its searchingness, the water for its cleansing, 
and the scarlet for its kindling or enlightening, are all 

* Hence the intense absurdity of endeavouring to "restore " the colour 
of ancient buildings by the hands of ignorant colourists, as at the 
Crystal Palace. 



used as tokens of sanctification ; * and it cannot l>e with 
any force alleged, in opposition to this definite appoint- 
ment, that scarlet is used incidentally to illustrate the stain 
of sin, — " though thy sins be as scarlet," — any more than 
it could be received as a diminution of the authority for 
using snow- whiteness as a type of purity, that Gehazi's 
leprosy is described as being as "white as snow." An in- 
cidental image has no authoritative meaning, but a stated 
ceremonial appointment has ; besides, we have the reversed 
image given distinctly in Prov. xxxi.: "She is not afraid 
of the snow for her household, for all her household are 
clothed with scarlet? And, again: "Ye daughters of 
Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you in scarlet, with 
other delights." So, also, the arraying of the mystic 
Babylon in purple and scarlet may be interpreted exactly 
as we choose ; either, by those who think colour sensual, 
as an image of earthly pomp and guilt, or, by those who 
think it sacred, as an image of assumed or pretended sanc- 
tity. It is possible the two meanings may be blended, and 
the idea may be that the purple and fine linen of Dives 
are worn in hypocritical semblance of the purple and fine 
linen of the high priest, being, nevertheless, themselves, 
in all cases typical of all beauty and purity. I hope, how- 
ever, to be able some day to enter farther into these ques- 
tions with respect to the art of illumination ; meantime, 
the facts bearing on our immediate subject may be briefly 
recapitulated. All men, completely organized and justly 
tempered, enjoy colour; it is meant for the perpetual 
comfort and delight of the human heart ; it is richly be- 
stowed on the highest works of creation, and the eminent 
sign and seal of perfection in them ; being associated with 
life in the human body, with light in the sky, with purity 

* The redeemed Rahab bound for a sign a scarlet thread in the win- 
dow. Compare Canticles iv. 3. 



and hardness in the earth, — death, night, and pollution of 
all kinds being colourless. And although if form and 
colour be brought into complete opposition,* so that it 
should be put to us as a matter of stern choice whether we 
should have a work of art all of form, without colour (as 
an Albert Durer's engraving), or all of colour, without 
form (as an imitation of mother-of-pearl), form is beyond 
all comparison the more precious of the two ; and in ex- 
plaining the essence of objects, form is essential, and col- 
our more or less accidental; yet if colour be introduced at 
all, it is necessary that, whatever else may be wrong, that 
should be right; just as, though the music of a song may 
not be so essential to its influence as the meaning of the 
words, yet if the music be given at all, it most be right, or 
its discord will spoil the words ; and it would be better, of 
the two, that the words should be indistinct, than the notes 
false. Hence, as I have said elsewhere, the business of a 
painter is to paint. If he can colour, he is a painter, 

* The inconsistency between perfections of colour and form, which I 
have had to insist npon in other places, is exactly like that between ar- 
ticulation and harmony. We cannot have the richest harmony with the 
sharpest and most audible articulation of words: yet good singers 
will articulate clearly ; and the perfect study of the science of music 
will conduct to a fine articulation ; but the study of pronunciation will 
not conduct to, nor involve, that of harmony. So, also, though, as 
said farther on, subtle expression can be got without colour, perfect 
expression never can ; for the colour of the face is a part of its expres- 
sion. How often has that scene between Francesca di Rimini and her 
lover been vainly attempted by sculptors, simply because they did not 
observe that the main note of expression in it was in the fair sheet- 
lightning— fading and flaming through the cloud of passion ! 

Per piu fiate gli occhi ci sospinse 

Quella lettura, e scolorocci il vise 
And, of course, in landscape, colour is the principal source of expression. 
Take one melancholy chord from the close of Crabbe's Patron: 
" Cold grew the foggy mom ; the daj r was brief, 
Loose on the cherry hung the crimson leaf. 



though he can do nothing else ; if he cannot colour, he is 
no painter, though he may do everything else. But it is, 
in fact, impossible, if he can colour, but that he should be 
able to do more ; for a faithful study of colour will always 
give power over form, though the most intense study of 
form will give no power over colour. The man who can 
see all the greys, and reds, and purples in a peach, will 
paint the peach rightly round, and rightly altogether ; but 
the man who has only studied its roundness, may not see 
its purples and greys, and if he does not, will never get it 
to look like a peach ; so that great power over colour is 
always a sign of large general art-intellect. Expression 
of the most subtle kind can be often reached by the slight 
studies of caricaturists ; * sometimes elaborated by the toil 
of the dull, and sometimes by the sentiment of the feeble ; 
but to* colour well recpiires real talent and earnest study, 
and to colour perfectly is the rarest and most precious 
j^ower an artist can possess. Every other gift may be er- 
roneously cultivated, but this will guide to all healthy, 
natural, and forcible truth ; the student may be led into 
folly by philosophers, and into falsehood by purists ; but 
he is always safe if he holds the hand of a colourist. 

4. M. P., Ch. iii. 

The dew dwelt ever on the herb ; the woods 

Roared with strong blasts ; with mighty showers, the floods : 

All green was vanished, save of pine and yew 

That still displayed their melancholy hue ; 

Save the green holly, with its berries red, * 

And the green moss that o'er the gravel spread." 

* See Appendix I. Modern Grotesque. 4 M. P. , p. 32-52. 




1st. Abstract colour is of far less importance than ab- 
stract form, that is to say, if it could rest in our choice 
whether we would carve like Phidias (supposing Phidias 
had never used colour), or arrange the colour of a 
shawl like Indians, there is no question as to which power 
we ought to choose. The difference of rank is vast; 
there is no way of estimating or measuring it. 

So, again, if it rest in our clioice whether we will be 
great in invention of form, to be expressed only by light 
and shade, as Durer, or great in invention and application 
of colour, caring only for ungainly form, as Bassano, there 
is still no question. Try to be Durer, of the two. So 
again, if we have to give an account or description of any- 
thing — if it be an object of high interest — its form will be 
always what we should first tell. Neither leopard spots . 
nor partridge's signify primarily in describing either beast 
or bird. But teeth and feathers do. 

2. Secondly. Though colour is of less importance than 
form, if you introduce it at all, it must be right. 

People often speak of the Poman school as if it were 
greater than the Venetian, because its colour is '''sub- 

Its colour is not subordinate. It is bad. 

If you paint coloured objects, you must either paint them 
rightly or wrongly. There is no other choice. You may 
introduce as little colour as you choose — a mere tint of rose 
in a chalk drawing, for instance ; or pale hues generally 
— as Michael Angelo in the Sistine Chapel. All such 



work implies feebleness or imperfection, but not neces- 
sarily error. But if you paint with full colour, as Raphael 
and Leonardo, you must either be true or false. If true, 
you will paint like a Venetian. If false, your form, su- 
premely beautiful, may draw the attention of the spectator 
from the false colour, or induce him to pardon it — and, if 
ill- taught, even to like it ; but your picture is none the 
greater for that. Had Leonardo and Raphael coloured 
like Giorgione, their work would have been greater, not 
less, than it is now. 

3. To colour perfectly is the rarest and most precious 
(technical) power an artist can possess. There have been 
only seven supreme colourists among the true painters 
whose works exist (namely, Giorgione, Titian, Veronese, 
Tintoret, Correggio, Reynolds, and Turner) ; but the names 
of great designers, including sculptors, architects, and 
metal-workers, are multitudinous. Also, if you can colour 
perfectly, you are sure to be able to do everything else 
if you like. There never yet was colourist who could not 
draw ; but faculty of perceiving form may exist alone. 
I believe, however, it will be found ultimately that the 
perfect gifts of colour aud form always go together. 
Titian's form is nobler than Durer's, and more subtle ; nor 
have I any doubt but that Phidias could have painted as 
nobly as he carved. But when the powers are not su- 
preme, the wisest men usually neglect the colour-gift, and 
clevelope that of form. (See post, 168.) 

It may be noted that Turner's colour is founded more 
on Correggio and Bassano than on the central Venetians ; 
it involves a more tender and constant reference to light 
and shade than that of Veronese ; and a more sparkling 
and gem-like lustre than that of Titian. I dislike using 
a technical word which has been disgraced by affectation, 
but there is no other word to signify what I mean in say- 
ing that Turner's colour has, to the full, Correggio's " mor- 


turner's truth of colour. 

bidezza," including also, in due place, conditions of mosaic 
effect, like that of the colours in an Indian design, un- 
accomplished by any previous master in painting ; and 
a fantasy of inventive arrangement corresponding to that 
of Beethoven in music. In its concurrence with and ex- 
pression of texture or construction of surfaces (as their 
bloom, lustre, or intricacy) it stands unrivalled — no still- 
life painting by any other master can stand for an instant 
beside Turner's, when his work is of life-size, as in his 
numerous studies of birds and their plumage. This " mor- 
bidezza'' of colour is associated, precisely as it was in 
Correggio, with an exquisite sensibility to fineness and in- 
tricacy of curvature : curvature being to lines what grada- 
tion is to colours. This subject, also, is too difficult and 
too little regarded by the public, to be entered upon here, 
but it must be observed that this quality of Turner's de- 
sign, the one which of all is best expressible by engraving, 
has of all been least expressed, owing to the constant re- 
duction or change of proportion in the plates. 

4. Colour is the purifying or sanctifying element of 
material beauty. 

If so, how less important than form ? Because, on form 
depends existence ; on colour, only purity. Under the 
Levitical law, neither scarlet nor hyssop could purify the 
deformed. So, under all natural law, there must be 
rightly shaped members first ; then sanctifying colour and 
fire in them. 

Nevertheless, there are several great difficulties and 
oppositions of aspect in this matter, which I must try to 
reconcile now clearly and finally. As colour is the type 
of Love, it resembles it in all its modes of operation ; and 
in practical work of human hands, it sustains changes of 
worthiness precisely like those of human sexual love. That 
love, when true, faithful, well-fixed, is eminently the 
sanctifying element of human life : without it, the soul 



cannot reach its fullest height of holiness. But if shallow, 
faithless, misdirected, it is also one of the strongest cor- 
rupting and degrading elements of life. 

Between these base and lofty states of Love are the 
loveless states ; some cold and horrible ; others chaste, 
childish, or ascetic, bearing to careless thinkers the sem- 
blance of purity higher than that of Love. 

So it is with the type of Love — colour. Followed rash- 
ly, coarsely, untruly, for the mere pleasure of it, with no 
reverence, it becomes a temptation, and leads to cor- 
ruption. Followed faithfully, w T ith intense but rever- 
ent passion, it is the holiest of all aspects of material 

Between these two modes of pursuing it, come two 
modes of refusing it — one, dark and sensual ; the other, 
statuesque and grave, having great aspect of nobleness. 

Thus we have, first, the coarse love of colour, as a vul- 
gar person's choice of gaudy hues in dress. 

Then, again, we have the base disdain of colour, of 
which I have spoken at length elsewhere. Thus we have 
the lofty disdain of colour, as in Durer's and Raphael's 
drawing: finally, the severest and passionate following of 
it, in Giorgione and Titian. 

5. Colour is, more than all elements of art, the reward 
of veracity of purpose. This point respecting it I have 
not noticed before, and it is highly curious. We have just 
seen that in giving an account of. anything for its own 
sake, the most important points are those of form. Never- 
theless, the form of the object is its own attribute ; special, 
not shared with other things. An error in giving an ac- 
count of it does not necessarily involve wider error. 

But its colour is partly its own, partly shared with other 
things round it. The hue and power of all broad sunlight 
is involved in the colour it has cast upon this single thing; 
to falsify that colour, is to misrepresent and break the 



harmony of the day ; also, by what colour it bears, this 
single object is altering hues all round it : reflecting its 
Own into them, displaying them by opposition, softening 
them by repetition ; one falsehood in colour in one place 
implies a thousand in the neighbourhood. Hence, there 
are peculiar penalties attached to falsehood in colour, and 
peculiar rewards granted to veracity in it. Form may be 
attained in perfectness by painters who, in their course of 
study, are continually altering or idealizing it ; but only 
the sternest fidelity will reach colouring. Idealize or alter 
in that, and you are lost. Whether you alter by abasing, 
or exaggerating, — by glare or by decline, one fate is for 
you — ruin. Violate truth wilfully in the slightest partic- 
ular, or, at least, get into the habit of violating it, and all 
kinds of failure and error will surround and haunt you 
to your fall. 

Therefore, also, as long as you are working with form 
only, you may amuse yourself with fancies ; but colour is 
sacred — in that you must keep to facts. Hence the ap- 
parent anomaly that the only schools of colour are the 
schools of Realism. The men who care for form only, 
may drift about in dreams of Spiritualism ; but a colour- 
ist must keep to substance. The greater his power in 
colour enchantment, the more stern and constant will be 
his common sense. Fuseli may wander wildly among 
gray spectra, but Reynolds and Gainsborough must stay 
in broad daylight, with pure humanity. Yelasquez, the 
greatest colourist, is the most accurate portrait painter of 
Spain ; Holbein, the most accurate portrait painter, is the 
only colourist of Germany ; and even Tintoret had to sac- 
rifice some of the highest qualities of his colour before he 
could give way to the flights of wayward though mighty 
imagination, in which his mind rises or declines from the 
royal calm of Titian. 51. P. , 333 note. 




A. — Colours classified: 

1. The Primary colours are, red, yellow and blue. 

2. The Secondary or complementary colours are, 
green, purple and orange. 

B. — Colours modified, as by 

1. Scales : as scales of red, scales of yellow, etc. 

2. Tones : which are scales modified in 

a. Tints : any colour modified by white ; 

b. Shades : any colour modified by black. 

3. Hues : one colour modified by any other. 

C. — Colours characterized : 

1. Warm or advancing colour : red, yellow. 

2. Cold or receding colour : blue, green, violet. 

D. — Colours Harmonized : 

1. Harmony of Analogy — 

a. Of scale, produced by the simultaneous view 
of different tones of the same scale, more or less approx- 

b. Of hues, produced by the simultaneous view 
of tones of the same or nearly of the same depth, belong- 
ing to neighbouring scales. 

c. Of a dominant coloured light, produced by the 
simultaneous view of various colours assorted after the law 
of contrast, but one of them predominating, as would 
result from the view of these colours through a slightly 
coloured glass. 

2. Harmony of Contrast — 

a. Of scale, produced by the simultaneous view 
of two very distant tones of the same scale. 

b. Of hues, produced by the simultaneous view 
of tones of different depths, belonging to neighbouring 

c. Of colours, produced by the simultaneous view 



of colours belonging to very distant scales, assorted accord- 
ing to the law of contrast. This contrast of scale may be 
augmented by depth of adjacent tones. 

d. Harmony of Simultaneous Contrast, being that 
of different adjacent colours seen at the same time. 

e. Harmony of Successive Contrasts — This delu- 
sion takes place when but one colour is before the eye at 
the same moment. When wearied of this colour, the eye 
seeks to rest itself by seeing the secondary or comple- 
mentary of the colour present ; as when the eye has wea- 
ried of red, and turns from it, it sees not red but green, 
the complementary of red, and so of the other colours. 

f Harmony of Mixed Contrasts — This is an op- 
tical effect of mixing upon the vision two colours seen suc- 
cessively ; for instance, look with one eye for a time upon 
red and then turn it upon blue, and the vision mixes the 
red and blue and creates the impression of purple. In 
simultaneous contrasts the effect is a modification of one 
coloicr %i])on another when seen in the same act of vision. 
In successive contrasts but one colour is present, and the 
effect is in the eye and not in the colour. In mixed con- 
trasts one or more colours are present and seen successively, 
and the effect is also in the eye and not in the colour. Re- 
member the difference. See also Harmony of Colours, as 
mentioned in this chapter under " General Tone of Colour," 
clause 6. 


Colour- art may be considered under several heads — 

1. Truth of colouring requires that colours should be 
combined and arranged according to the laws of nature 
as revealed by the prism and considered above. 

2. Ideality 'of colouring • if colour is not idealized it is 
mere paint, and cannot harmonize with the ideal charac 
ter of an ideal picture ; in other words, colour must sym- 
pathize with the subject and the sentiment. 



3. Force of colouring is not obtrusive colouring, but 
effective colouring ; as principal colour on the principal 
figure ; bright or advancing colours for advanced objects ; 
and receding colours for receding objects ; subdued colours 
for less important objects. The distinct blue and red in 
the draperies of the Roman and Florentine schools, though 
destitute of the harmony produced by a variety of broken 
and transparent colours, yet possess the effect of grandeur 
required, and strike the eye with more force than if they 
were harmonized by a greater number of tints. But only 
great masters have succeeded in such force of colouring ; 
in the hands of feebler powers it would be raw and harsh. 

4. Balance of colour. In nature we find the same colours 
dispersed everywhere. Take, for instance, a field of flow- 
ers. No mass of colour is in a spot by itself ; but all are in- 
termingled, which produces a balance of colour. If colour 
is ^introduced but once in a picture, it appears like a spot 
and unsupported on the canvas ; and, again, in the repe- 
tition it must be slightly varied in form, tint, or hue ; as, 
for instance, a rose in a bunch of flowers may be balanced 
by a pink azalia, or one purple flow^er by another differ- 
ing in form and hue. Perfect harmony of colouring re- 
quires a careful observance of this law of nature in all 
composition. If the subject requires a gay and brilliant 
tone, the life and vivacity of contrast, the colours intro- 
duced to secure that effect must be duly balanced by those 
that are harmonious, else the eye will become sated. On 
this point no definite rule can be given. If there is too 
much contrast the picture will be spotty and harsh ; if too 
little, where decided colours are introduced, it will be mo- 
notonous. In the arrangement of colours much is gained 
bv varying the forms of objects. In nature, according to 
the prism, colours are balanced by three parts of yellow to 
five of red and eight of blue; the sixteen parts making 
white light. Also in the complementaries and primaries, 



five of red balance eleven of green ; three of yellow, thir^ 
teen of purple ; eight of blue, eight of orange ; and so of 
all other combinations of colour. 

5. Gradation of colour. Look for gradation spaces in 

a. In Nature. 

The sky is the largest and most beautiful ; watch 
it at twilight after the sun is down, and try to consider 
each pane of glass in the window you look through as 
a piece of paper coloured blue, or grey, or purple, as it 
happens to be, and observe how quietly and continuously 
the gradation extends over the space in the window of one 
or two feet square. It is amazing how slight the differences 
of tint are by which, through infinite delicacy of grada- 
tion, nature can express form. Compare the gradated 
colours of the rainbow with the stripes of a target, and the 
gradual concentration of the youthful blood in the cheek 
with an abrupt patch of rouge, or with the sharply-drawn 
veining of old age. Gradation is so inseparable a quality 
of all natural shade and colour, that the eye refuses in art 
to understand anything which appears without it, while on 
the other hand nearly all the gradations in nature are so 
subtle, and between degrees of tint so slightly separated, 
that no human hand can in any wise equal or do anything 
more than suggest the idea of them. In proportion to the 
space over which gradation extends, and to its invisible 
subtilty, is its grandeur, and in proportion to its narrow 
limits and violent degrees, its vulgarity. In Correggio it 
is morbid in spite of its refinement of execution, because 
the eye is drawn to it, and it is made the most observable 
and characteristic part of the picture ; whereas, natural 
gradation is forever escaping observation to that degree 
that the greater number of artists in working from nature 
see it not. 2 M. P., 40, §§ 16, 17. 



b. How can this gradation ~be effected f 

Whenever you lay on a mass of colour, be sure that how- 
ever large it may be, or however small, it shall be gradated. 
JVb colour exists in Nature under ordinary circumstances 
without gradation. If you do not see this, it is the fault 
of your inexperience : you will see it in due time, if you 
practise enough. But in general you may see it at once. 
In the birch trunk, for instance, the rosy gray must be 
gradated by the roundness of the stem till it meets 
the shaded side ; similarly the shaded side is gradated by 
reflected light. Accordingly, whether by adding water, or 
white paint, or by unequal force of touch (this you will 
do at pleasure, according to the texture you wish to pro- 
duce), you must, in every tint you lay on, make it a little 
paler at one part than another, and get an even gradation 
between the two depths. This is very like laying down a 
formal law or recipe for you ; but you will find it ia 
merely the assertion of a natural fact. It is not indeed 
physically impossible to meet with an ungradated piece of 
colour, but it is so supremely improbable, that you had 
better get into the habit of asking yourself invariably, 
when you are going to copy a tint, — not "Is that gra- 
dated?" but " Which way is it gradated?" and at least in 
ninety-nine out of a hundred instances, you will be able 
to answer decisively after a careful glance, though the 
gradation may have been so subtle that you did not see it 
at first. And it does not matter how small the touch of 
colour may be, though not larger than the smallest pin's 
head, if one part of it is not darker than the rest, it is a 
bad touch ; for it is not merely because the natural fact is 
so, that your colour should be gradated ; the preciousness 
and pleasantness of the colour itself depends more on this 
than on any other of its qualities, for gradation is to colours 
just what curvature is to lines, both being felt to be beau- 



tifiil by the pure instinct of every human mind, and both, 
considered as types, expressing the law of gradual change 
and progress in the human soul itself. What the differ- 
ence is in mere beauty between a gradated and ungradated 
colour, may be seen easily by laying an even tint of rose- 
colour on paper, and putting a rose leaf beside it. The 
victorious beauty of the rose as compared with other 
flowers, depends wholly on the delicacy and quantity of 
its colour gradations, all other flowers being either less 
rich in gradation, not having so many folds of leaf ; or 
less tender, being patched and veined instead of flushed. 

c. Colours change in gradation. 
But observe, it is not enough in general that colour 
should be gradated by being made merely paler or darker 
at one place than another. Generally colour changes 
as it diminishes, and is not merely darker at one spot, 
but also purer at one spot than anywhere else. It 
does not in the least follow that the darkest spot should 
be the purest ; still less so that the lightest should be the 
purest. Yery often the two gradations more or less 
cross each other, one passing in one direction from pale- 
ness to darkness, another in another direction from purity 
to dulness, but there will almost always be both of them, 
however reconciled ; and you must never be satisfied with 
a piece of colour until you have got both : that is to say, 
every piece of blue that you lay on must be quite blue 
only at some given spot, nor that a large spot ; and must 
be gradated from that into less pure blue — grayish blue, or 
greenish blue, or purplish blue, over all the rest of the 
space it occupies. And this you must do in one of three 
ways : either, while the colour is wet, mix with it the 
colour which is to subdue it, adding gradually a little more 
and a little more ; or else, when the colour is quite dry, 
strike a gradated touch of another colour over it, leaving 



only a point of the first tint visible ; or else, lay the sub- 
duing tints on in small touches, as in the exercise of tint- 
ing the chess-board. Of each of these methods I have 
something to tell you separately: but that is distinct from 
the subject of gradation, which I must not quit without 
once more pressing upon you the preeminent necessity of 
introducing it everywhere. I have profound dislike of 
anything like habit of hand, and yet, in this one instance, 
I feel almost tempted to encourage you to get into a habit 
of never touching paper with colour, without securing a 
gradation. You will not, in Turner's largest oil pictures, 
perhaps six or seven feet long by four or five high, 
find one spot of colour as large as a grain of wheat un- 
gradated : and you will find in practice, that brilliancy of 
hue, and vigour of light, and even the aspect of transpa- 
rency in shade, are essentially dependent on this character 
alone ; hardness, coldness, and opacity resulting far more 
from equality of colour than from nature of colour. Give 
me some mud off a city crossing, some ochre out of a gravel 
pit, a little whitening, and some coal-dust, and I will paint 
you a luminous picture, if you give me time to gradate my 
mud, and subdue my dust : but though you had the red 
of the ruby, the blue of the gentian, snow for the light, 
and amber for the gold, you cannot paint a luminous 
picture, if you keep the masses of those colours unbroken 
in purity, and unvarying in depth. 

d. Three processes of gradation. 

Next note the three processes by which gradation and 
other characters are to be obtained : 
A. Mixing while the colour is wet. 

You may be confused by my first telling you to lay on 
the hues in separate patches, and then telling you to mix 
hues together as you. lay them on : but the separate masses 
are to be laid, when colours distinctly oppose each other 



at a given limit ; the hues to be mixed, when they palpi- 
tate one through the other, or fade one into the other. It 
is better to err a little on the distinct side. Thus I told 
you to paint the dark and light sides of the birch trunk 
separately, though, in reality, the two tints change, as the 
trunk turns away from the light, gradually one into the 
other ; and, after being laid separately on, will need some 
farther touching to harmonize them : but they do so in a very 
narrow space, marked distinctly all the way up the trunk; 
and it is easier and safer, therefore, to keep them separate 
at first. Whereas it often happens that the whole beauty 
of two colours will depend on the one being continued well 
through the other, and playing in the midst of it: blue 
and green often do so in water ; blue and gray, or purple 
and scarlet, in sky ; in hundreds of such instances the most 
beautiful and truthful results may be obtained by laying 
one colour into the other while wet, judging wisely how 
far it will spread, or blending it with the brush in some- 
what thicker consistence of wet body-colour ; only observe, 
never mix in this way two mixtures ; let the colour you 
lay into the other be always a simple, not a compound tint. 

B. Laying one colour over another. 

If you lay on a solid touch of vermilion, and, after it is 
quite dry, strike a little very wet carmine quickly over it, 
you will obtain a much more brilliant red than by mixing 
the carmine and vermilion. Similarly, if you lay a dark 
colour first, and strike a little blue or white body-colour 
lightly over it, you will get a more beautiful gray than by 
mixing the colour and the blue or white. In very perfect 
painting, artifices of this kind are continually used ; but I 
w T ould not have you trust much to them : they are apt to 
make you think too much of quality of colour. I should 
like you to depend on little more than the dead colours, 
simply laid on, only observe alwa} T s this, that the less 
colour you do the work with, the better it will always 



be : * so that if you have laid a red colour, and you want 
a purple one above, do not mix the purple on your palette 
and lay it on so thick as to overpower the red, but take a 
little thin blue from your palette, and lay it lightly over 
the red, so as to let the red be seen through, and thus pro- 
duce the required purple ; and if you want a green hue 
over a blue one, do not lay a quantity of green on the 
blue, but a little yellow, and so on, always bringing the 
under colour into service as far as you possibly can. 
If, however, the colour beneath is wholly opposed to the 
one you have to lay on, as, suppose, if green is to be laid 
over scarlet, you must either remove the required parts of 
the under colour daintily first with your knife, or with 
water ; or else, lay solid white over it massively, and leave 
that to dry, and then glaze the white with the upper 
colour. This is better, in general, than laying the upper 
colour itself so thick as to conquer the ground, which, in 
fact, if it be a transparent colour, you cannot do. Thus, 
if you have to strike warm boughs and leaves of trees 
over blue sky, and they are too intricate to have their 
places left for them in laying the blue, it is better to lay 
them first in solid white, and then glaze with sienna and 
ochre, than to mix the sienna and white ; though, of 
course, the process is longer and more troublesome. 
Nevertheless, if the forms of touches required are very 
delicate, the after glazing is impossible. You must then 
mix the warm colour thick at once, and so use it : and this 
is often necessary for delicate grasses, and such other fine 
threads of light in foreground work. 

* If colours were twenty times as costly as they are, we should have 
many more good paiuters. If I were Chancellor of the Exchequer I 
would lay a tax of twenty shillings a cake on all colours except black, 
PruKsian blue, Vandyke brown, and Chinese white, which I would leave 
for students. I don't say this jestingly ; I believe such a tax would do 
more to advance real art than a great many schools of design. 



C. Breaking one colour in small points through or over 

This is the most important of all processes in good 
modern* oil and water-colour painting, but yon need not 
hope to attain very great skill in it. To do it well is very 
laborious, and requires such skill and delicacy of hand as 
can only be acquired by unceasing practice. But you 
will find advantage in noting the following points : 

(a) In distant effects of rich subject, wood, or rip- 
pled water, or broken clouds, much may be done by 
touches or crumbling dashes of rather dry colour, with other 
colours afterwards put cunningly into the interstices. 
The more you practise this, when the subject evidently 
calls for it, the more your eye will enjoy the higher quali- 
ties of colour. The process is, in fact, the carrying out of 
the principle of separate colours to the utmost possible 
refinement ; using atoms of colour in juxtaposition, instead 
of large spaces. And note, in filling up minute inter- 
stices of this kind, that if you want the colour you fill 
them with to . show brightly, it is better to put a rather 
positive point of it, with a little white left beside or round 
it in the interstice, than to put a pale tint of the colour over 
the whole interstice. Yellow or orange will hardly show, 
if pale, in small spaces ; but they show brightly in firm 
touches, however small, with white beside them. 

(b) If a colour is to be darkened by superimposed por- 
tions of another, it is, in many cases, better to lay the 
uppermost colour in rather vigorous small touches, like 
finely chopped straw, over the under one, than to lay it 
on as a tint, for two reasons : the first, that the play of 
the two colours together is pleasant to the eye ; the second, 
that much expression of form may be got by wise adrain- 

* I say modern, because Titian' s quiet way of blending colours, which, 
is the perfectly right one, is not understood now by any artist. The 
best colour we reach is got by stippling ; but this is not quite right. 



istration of the upper dark touches. In distant mountains 
they may be made pines of, or -broken crags, or villages, or 
stones, or whatever you choose ; in clouds they may indi- 
cate the direction of the rain, the roll and outline of the 
cloud masses ; and in water, the minor waves. All noble 
effects of dark atmosphere are got in good water-colour 
drawing by these two expedients, interlacing the colours, 
or retouching the lower one with fine darker drawing in 
an upper. Sponging and washing for dark atmospheric 
effect is barbarous, and mere tyro's work, though it is 
often useful for passages of delicate atmospheric light. 
(c) When you have time, practise the 'production of 


out of which they are formed, and use the process at the 
parts of your sketches where you wish to get rich and 
luscious effects. Study the works of William Hunt, of 
the Old Water-colour Society, in this respect, continually, 
and make frequent memoranda of the variegations in 
flowers ; not painting the flower completely, but laying 
the ground colour of one petal, and painting the spots on 
it with studious precision : a series of single petals of 
lilies, geraniums, tulips, &c, numbered with proper refer- 
ence to their position in the flower, will be interesting to 
you on many grounds besides those of art. Be careful to 
get the gradated distribution of the spots well followed in 
the calceolarias, foxgloves, and the like ; and work out the 
odd, indefinite hues of the spots themselves with minute 
grains of pure interlaced colour, otherwise you will never 
get their richness or bloom. You will find, first, the 
universality of the law of gradation much insisted upon ; 
secondly, that Nature is economical of her fine colours. 
You would think, by the way she paints, that her colours 
cost her something enormous: she will only give you a 
single pure touch, just where the petal turns into light; 
but down in the bell all is subdued, and under the petal 



all is subdued, even in the showiest flower. What you 
thought was bright blue is, when you look close, only dusty 
gray., or green, or purple, or every colour in the world at 
once, only a single gleam or streak of pure blue in the 
centre of it. And so with all her colours. Sometimes I 
have really thought her miserliness intolerable : in a gen- 
tian, for instance, the way she economises her ultramarine 
down in the bell is a little too bad. 

6. Next, respecting general tone of colour. I said, just 
now, that, for the sake of students, my tax should not be 
laid on black or on white pigments ; but if you mean to 
be a colourist, you must lay a tax on them yourself 
when you begin to use true colour ; that is to say, you 
must use them little, and make of them much. There is 
no better test of your colour tones being good, than your 
having made the white in your picture precious, and the 
black conspicuous. 

I say, first, the white precious. I do not mean merely 
glittering or brilliant ; it is easy to scratch white sea- 
gulls out of black clouds, and dot clumsy foliage with 
chalky dew ; but, when white is well managed, it ought 
to be strangely delicious — tender as well as bright — 
like inlaid mother of pearl, or white roses washed, in 
milk. The eye ought to seek it for rest, brilliant though 
it may be ; and to feel it as a space of strange, heavenly 
paleness in the midst of the flushing of the colours. This 
effect you can only reach by general depth of middle tint, 
by absolutely refusing to allow any white to exist except 
where you need it, and by keeping the white itself sub- 
dued by gray, except at a few points of chief lustre. 

Secondly, you must make the black conspicuous. How- 
ever small a point of black may be, it ought to catch 
the eya, otherwise your work is too heavy in the shadow. 
All the ordinary shadows should be of some colour — 
never black, nor approaching black, they should be evi- 



dently and always of a luminous nature, and the black 
should look strange among them ; never occurring except 
in a black object, or in small points indicative of intense 
shade in the very centre of masses of shadow. Shadows 
of absolutely negative grey, however, may be beautifully 
used with white, or with gold ; but still though the 
black thus, in subdued strength, becomes spacious, it 
should always be conspicuous; the spectator should 
notice this grey neutrality with some wonder, and enjoy, 
all the more intensely on account of it, the gold colour 
and the white which it relieves. Of all the great 
colourists Velasquez is the greatest master of the black 
chords. His black is more precious than most other peo- 
ples crimson. 

It is not, however, only white and black which you 
must make valuable ; you must give rare worth to every 
colour you use ; but the white and black ought to separate 
themselves quaintly from the rest, while the other colours 
should be continually passing one into the other, being all 
evidently companions in the same gay world ; while the 
white, black, and neutral grey should stand monkishly 
aloof in the midst of them. You may melt your crimson 
into purple, your purple into blue, and }^our blue into 
green, but you must not melt any of them into black. You 
should, however, try, as I said, to give preciousness to all 
your colours ; and this especially by never using a grain 
more than will just do the work, and giving each hue the 
highest value by opposition. All fine colouring, like fine 
drawing, is delicate / and so delicate that if, at last, you 
see the colour you are putting on, you are putting on too 
much. You ought to feel a change wrought in the general 
tone, by touches of colour which individually are too pale 
to be seen ; and if there is one atom of any colour in the 
whole picture which is unnecessary to it, that atom hurts it. 

Notice also, that nearly all good compound colours are 



odd colours. You shall look at a hue in a good painter's 
.work ten minutes before you know what to call it. You 
thought it was brown, presently you feel that it is red ; 
next that there is, somehow, yellow in it ; presently after- 
wards that there is blue in it. If you try to copy it you 
will always find your colour too warm or too cold — no 
colour in the box will seem to have any affinity with 
it; and yet it will be as pure as if it were laid at a single 
touch with a single colour. 

Thirdly, as to the choice and harmony of colours in 
general, if you cannot choose and harmonize them by in- 
stinct, you will never do it at all. If you need examples 
of utterly harsh and horrible colour, you may find plenty 
given in treatises upon colouring, to illustrate the laws of 
harmony ; and if you want to colour beautifully, colour 
as best pleases yourself at quiet times, not so as to catch 
the eye, nor to look as if it were clever or difficult to 
colour in that way, but so that the colour may be 
pleasant to you when you are happy, or thoughtful. 
Look much at the morning and evening sky, and much 
at simple flowers — dog-roses, wood hyacinths, violets, 
poppies, thistles, heather, and such like — as Nature 
arranges them in the woods and fields. If ever any sci- 
entific person tells you that two colours are " discordant," 
make a note of the two colours, and put them together 
whenever you can. I have actually heard people say that 
blue and green were discordant ; the two colours which 
Nature seems to intend never to be separated, and never 
to be felt, either of them, in its full beauty without the 
other ! — a peacock's neck, or a blue sky through green 
leaves, or a blue wave with green lights through it, being 
precisely the loveliest things, next to clouds at sunrise, in 
this coloured world of ours. If you have a good eye for 
colours, you will soon find out how constantly Nature puts 
purple and green together, purple and scarlet, green and 



blue, yellow and neutral grey, and the like ; and how she 
strikes these colour-concords for general tones, and then 
works into them with innumerable subordinate ones ; and 
you will gradually come to like what she does, and hnd 
out new and beautiful chords of colour in her work every 
day. If you enjoy them, depend upon it you will paint 
them to a certain point right : or, at least, if you do not 
enjoy them, you are certain to paint them wrong. If 
colour does not give you intense pleasure, let it alone; de- 
pend upon it, you are only tormenting the eyes and senses 
of people who fed colour, whenever you touch it; and that 
is unkind and improper. You will find, also, your power 
of colouring depend much on your state of health and 
right balance of mind ; when you are fatigued or ill you 
will not see colours well, and when you are ill tempered 
you will not choose them well : thus, though not infallibly 
a test of character in individuals, colour power is a great 
sign of mental health in nations ; when they are in a state 
of intellectual decline, their colouring always gets dull.* 
You must also take great care not to be misled by af- 
fected talk about colour from people who have not the 
gift of it : numbers are eager and voluble about it whc 
probably never in all their lives received one genuine col- 
our-sensation. The modern religionists of the school of 
Overbeck are just like people who eat slate-pencil and 
chalk, and assure everybody that they are nicer and purer 
than strawberries and plums. 

Fourthly, take care also never to be misled into any 
idea that colour can help or display form / colour f always 
disguises form, aud is meant to do so. 

* The worst general character that colour can possibly have is a pre- 
valent tendency to a dirty yellowish green, like that of a decaying- heap 
of vegetables ; this colour is accurately indicative of decline or paralysis 
in missal-painting. 

f That is to say, local colour inherent in the object. The gradations 



Fifthly \ it is a favourite dogma among modem writers 
on colour that "warm colours" (reds and yellows) "ap- 
proach" or express nearness, and "cold colours" (blue 
and grey) " retire " or express distance. So far is this 
from being the case, that no expression of distance in the 
world is so great as that of the gold and orange in twilight 
sky. Colours, as such, are absolutely inexpressive re- 
specting distance. It is their quality (as depth, delicacy, 
&c.) which expresses distance, not their tint. A blue 
bandbox set on the same shelf with a yellow one will not 
look an inch farther off, but a red or orange cloud, in the 
upper sky, will always appear to be beyond a blue cloud 
close to us, as it is in reality. It is quite true that in cer- 
tain objects, blue is a sign of distance; but that is not 
because blue is a retiring colour, but because the mist in 
the air is blue, and therefore any warm colour which has 
not strength of light enough to pierce the mist is lost or 
subdued in its blue : but blue is no more, on this account, 
a "retiring colour," than brown is a retiring colour, 
because, when stones are seen through brown water, the 
deeper they lie the browner they look ; or than yellow is a 
retiring colour, because, when objects are seen through a 
London fog, the farther off they are the yellower they 

of colour in the various shadows belonging to various lights exhibit 
form, and therefore no one but a colourist can ever draw forms perfectly 
(see Modem Painters, vol. iv., chap. iii. at the end) ; but all notions of 
explaining form by superimposed colour, as in architectural mouldings, 
are absurd. Colour adorns form, but does not interpret it. An apple is 
prettier, because it is striped, but it does not look a bit rounder ; and a 
cheek is prettier because it is flushed, but you would see the form of 
the cheek bone better if it were not. Colour may, indeed, detach one 
shape from another, as in grounding a bas-relief, but it always di- 
minishes the appearance of projection, and whether you put blue, 
purple, red, yellow, or green, for your ground, the bas-relief will be just 
as clearly or just as imperfectly relieved, as long as the colours are of 
equal depth. The blue ground will not retire the hundredth part of 
an inch more than the red one. 



look. Neither blue, nor yellow, nor red, can have, as 
such, the smallest power of expressing either nearness or 
distance : they express them only under the peculiar 
circumstances which render them at the moment, or in that 
place, signs of nearness or distance. Thus, vivid orange 
in an orange is a sign of nearness, for if you put the 
orange a great way off, its colour will not look so bright ; 
but vivid orange in sky is a sign of distance, because you 
cannot get the colour of orange in a cloud near you. So 
purple in a violet or a hyacinth is a sign of nearness, 
because the closer you look at them the more purple you 
see. But purple in a mountain is a sign of distance, 
because a mountain close to you is not purple, but green 
or gray. It may, indeed, be generally assumed that a 
tender or pale colour will more or less express distance, 
-and a powerful or dark colour nearness ; but even this is 
not always so. Heathery hills will usually give a pale and 
tender purple near, and an intense and dark purple far 
away ; the rose colour of sunset on suoav is pale on the 
snow at your feet, deep and full on the snow in the dis- 
tance ; and the green of a Swiss lake is pale in the clear 
waves on the beach, but intense as an emerald in the sun- 
streak, six miles from shore. And in any case, when the 
foreground is in strong light, with much water about it, or 
white surface, casting intense reflections, all its colours 
may be perfectly delicate, pale, and faint ; while the dis- 
tance, when it is in shadow, may relieve the whole fore- 
ground with intense darks of purple, blue green, or 
ultramarine blue. So that, on the whole, it is quite hope- 
less and absurd to expect any help from laws of " aerial 
perspective." Look for the natural effects, and set them 
down as fully as you can, and as faithfully, and never 
alter a colour because it won't look in its right place. 
Put the colour strong, if it be strong, though far off; faint, 
if it be faint, though close to you. Why should you 



suppose that Nature always means you to know exactly 
how far one thing is from another ? She certainly intends 
you always to enjoy her colouring, but she does not wish 
you always to measure her space. You would be hard 
put to it, every time you painted the sun setting, if you 
had to express his 95,000,000 miles of distance in " aerial 

There is, however, I think, one law about distance, 
which has some claims to be considered a constant one : 
namel v, that dulness and heaviness of colour are more or 
less indicative of nearness. All distant colour is pure 
colour : it may not be bright, but it is clear and lovely, not 
opaque nor soiled ; for the air and light coming between 
us and any earthy or imperfect colour, purify or harmonise 
it ; hence a bad colourist is peculiarly incapable of ex- 
pressing distance. I do not of course mean that you are 
to use bad colours in your foreground by way of making 
it come forward ; but only that a failure in colour, there, 
will not put it out of its place ; while a failure in colour 
in the distance will at once do away with its remoteness : 
your dull-coloured foreground will still be a foreground, 
though ill-painted ; but your ill-painted distance will not 
be merely a dull distance, — it will be no distance at all. 

Elements of Drawing-, 151-165. 
[As to the art of colouring 1 , see further on page 295, § 16 etc.] 


1. The colourists as to shadows. 

The colourists painted masses or projecting spaces, and, 
aiming always at colour, perceived from the first and held 
to the last the fact that shadows, though of course darker 
than the lights with reference to which they are shadows, 
are not therefore necessarily less vigorous colours, but 
perhaps more vigorous. Some of the most beautiful blues 
and purples in nature, for instance, are those of moun- 



tains in shadow against amber sky ; and the darkness of 
the hollow in the centre of a wild rose is one glow 
of orange fire, owing to the quantity of its yellow sta- 

Well, the Venetians always saw this, and all great 
colourists see it, and are thus separated from the non- 
col our ists or schools of mere chiaroscuro, not by difference 
in style merely, but by being right while the others are 
wronff. It is an absolute fact that shadows are as much 
colours as lights are ; and whoever represents them by, 
merely, the subdued or darkened tint of the light, repre- 
sents them falsely. I particularly want you to observe 
that this is no matter of taste, but fact. If you are espe- 
cially sober-minded, you may indeed choose sober colours 
where Venetians would have chosen gay ones ; that is a 
matter of taste : you may think it proper for a hero to 
wear a dress without, patterns on it, rather than an 
embroidered one ; that is similarly a matter of taste, but 
though you may also think it would be dignified for a hero's 
limbs to be all black, or brown, on the shaded side of them, 
yet, if you are using colour at all, you cannot so have him 
to your mind, except by falsehood ; he never, under any 
circumstances, could be entirely black or brown on one 
side of him. 

2. The colourists as to light. 

In this, then, the Venetians are separate from other 
schools by rightness, and they are so to their last days. 
Venetian painting is in this matter always right. But 
also, in their early days, the colourists are separated from 
other schools by their contentment with tranquil cheerful- 
ness of light / by their never wanting to be dazzled. Kone 
of their lights are flashing or blinding; they are soft, 
winning, precious; lights of pearl, not of lime : only, you 
know, on this condition they cannot have sunshine : their 
day is the day of Paradise ; they need no candle, neither 



light of the sim, in their cities ; and everything is seen 
clear, as through crystal, far or near. 

This holds to the end of the fifteenth century. Then 
they begin to see that this, beautiful as it may be, is still 
a make-believe light ; that we clo not live in the inside of 
a pearl; but in an atmosphere through, which a burning 
sun shines thwartedly, and over which a sorrowful night 
must far prevail. And then the chiaroscurists succeed in 
persuading them of the fact that there is mystery in the 
day as in the night, and show them how constantly to see 
truly, is to see dimly. And also they teach them the 
brilliancy of light, and the degree in which it is raised 
from the darkness ; and, instead of their sweet and pearly 
peace, tempt them to look for the strength of name and 
coruscation of lightning, and flash of sunshine on armor 
and on points of spears. 

The noble painters take the lesson nobly, alike for 
gloom or flame. Titian with deliberate strength, Tintoret 
with stormy passion, read it, side by side. Titian deepens 
the hues of his Assumption, as of his Entombment, into 
a solemn twilight ; Tintoret involves his earth in coils of 
volcanic cloud, and withdraws, through circle flaming 
above circle, the distant light of Paradise. Both of them, 
becoming naturalist and human, add the veracity of Hol- 
bein's intense portraiture to the glow and the dignity 
they had themselves inherited from the Masters of Peace : 
at the same moment another, as strong as they, and in 
pure felicity of art-faculty, even greater than they, but 
trained in a lower school, — Yelasquez, — produced the 
miracles of colour and shadow-painting, which made Rey- 
nolds say of him, 'What w r e all do with labor, he does 
with ease ; ' and one more, Correggio, uniting the sensual 
element of the Greek schools with their gloom, and their 
light with their beauty, and all these with the Lombardic 
colour, became, as since I think it has been admitted 

turner's truth of color. 


without question, the captain of the painter's art as such. 
Other men have nobler or more numerous gifts, but as a 
painter, master of the art of laying colour so as to be 
lovely, Correggio is alone. (See ante, 147.) 

Lectures on Art , 7. 

v. — turner's truth of colour. 

1. There is, in the first room of the National Gallery, 
a landscape attributed to Gaspar Poussin, called some- 
times Arieia, sometimes Le or La Riccia, according to the 
fancy of catalogue printers. Whether it can be supposed 
to resemble the ancient Aricia, now La Kiccia, close to 
Albano, T will not take upon me to determine, seeing that 
most of the towns of these old masters are quite as like 
one place as another; but, at any. rate, it is a town on a 
hill, wooded with two-and -thirty bushes, of very uniform 
size, and possessing about the same number of leaves 
each. These bushes are all painted in with one dull 
opaque brown, becoming very slightly greenish towards 
the lights, and discover in one place a bit of rock, which 
of course would in nature have been cool and grey beside 
the lustrous hues of foliage, and which, therefore, being 
moreover completely in shade, is consistently and scien- 
tifically painted of a very clear, pretty, and positive brick 
red, the only thing like colour in the picture. The fore- 
ground is a piece of road, which in order to make allow- 
ance for its greater nearness, for its being completely in 
light, and, it may be presumed, for the quantity of vege- 
tation usually present on carriage-roads, is given in a very 
cool green grey, and the truth of the picture is completed 
by a number of dots in the sky on the right, with a stalk 
to them, of a sober and similar brown. 

2. Not long ago, I was slowly descending this very bit of 
carriage road, the first turn after you leave Albano, not a 
little impeded by the worthy successors of the ancient 


turner's truth op colour. 

prototypes of Veiento.* It had been wild weather when 
I left Home, and all across the Campagna the clouds 
were sweeping in sulphurous blue, with a clap of thunder 
or two, and breaking gleams of sun along the Claudian 
aqueduct, lighting up the infinity of its arches like the 
bridge of chaos. But as I climbed the long slope of the 
Alban mount, the storm swept finally to the north, and 
the noble outline of the domes of Albano and graceful 
darkness of its ilex grove rose against pure streaks of 
alternate blue and amber, the upper sky gradually flush- 
ing through the last fragments of rain-cloud in deep, 
palpitating azure, half ether and half dew. The noon- 
day sun came slanting down the rocky slopes of La 
Riccia, and its masses of entangled and tall foliage, whose 
autumnal tints were mixed with the wet verdure of a 
thousand evergreens, were penetrated with it as with rain. 
I cannot call it colour, it was conflagration, Purple, and 
crimson, and scarlet, like, the curtains of God's tabernacle, 
the rejoicing trees sank into the valley in showers of light, 
every separate leaf quivering with buoyant and burning 
life ; each, as it turned to reflect or to transmit the sun- 
beam, first a torch and then an emerald. Far up into the 
recesses of the valley, the green vistas arched like the 
hollows of mighty waves of some crystalline sea, with the 
arbutus flowers dashed along their flanks for foam, and 
silver flakes of orange spray tossed into the air around 
them, breaking over the grey walls of rock into a thou- 
sand separate stars, fading and kindling alternately as the 
weak Avind lifted and let them fall. Every glade of grass 
burned like the golden floor of heaven, opening in sudden 
gleams as the foliage broke and closed above it, as sheet- 

* " Csecus adulator — 

Dignus Aricinos qui mendicaret ad axes, 
Blandaque devexas jactaret basia rhedse." 

turner's truth of colour. 


lightning opens in a cloud at sunset ; the motionless 
masses of dark rock — dark though unshed with scarlet 
lichen, — casting their quiet shadows across its restless 
radiance, the fountain underneath them rilling its marble 
hollow with blue mist and fitful sound, and over all — the 
multitudinous bars of amber and rose, the sacred clouds 
that have no darkness, and only exist to illumine, were seen 
in fathomless intervals between the solemn and orbed re- 
pose of the stone pines, passing to lose themselves in the 
last, white, blinding lustre of the measureless line where 
the Campagna melted into the blaze of the sea. 

3. Tell me who is likest this, Poussin or Turner? Not 
in his most daring and dazzling efforts could Turner 
himself come near it ; but you could not at the time 
have thought or remembered the work of any other man 
as having the remotest hue or resemblance of what you 
saw. Nor am I speaking of what is uncommon or 
unnatural ; there is no climate, no place, and scarcely an 
hour, in which nature does not exhibit colour which no 
mortal effort can imitate or approach. For all our arti- 
ficial pigments are, even when seen under the same 
circumstances, dead and lightless beside her living col- 
our ; the green of a growing leaf, the scarlet of a fresh 
flower, no art nor expedient can reach ; but in addition to 
this, nature exhibits her hues under an intensity of sun- 
light which trebles their brilliancy ; while the painter, 
deprived of this splendid aid, works still with what" is 
actually a grey shadow compared to the force of nature's 
colour. Take a blade of grass and a scarlet flower, 
and place them so as to receive sunlight beside the 
brightest canvas that ever left Turner's easel, and the pic- 
ture will be extinguished. So far from out-facing nature, 
he does not, as far as mere vividness of colour goes, one- 
half reach her; — but does he use this brilliancy of colour 
on objects to which it does not properly belong? Let us 


turner's trutpi of colour. 

compare his works in this respect with a few instances 
from the old masters. 

4. There is, on the left hand side of Salvator's Mercury 
and the Woodman in our National Gallery, something, 
without doubt intended for a rocky mountain, in the 
middle distance, near enough for all its fissures and 
crags to be distinctly visible, or, rather, for a great 
many awkward scratches of the brush over it to be visible, 
which, though not particularly representative either of one 
thing or another, are without doubt intended to be sym- 
bolical of rocks. Now no mountain in full light, and near 
enough for its details of crag to be seen, is without great 
variety of delicate colour. Salvator has painted it through- 
out without one instant of variation; but this, I suppose, 
is simplicity and generalization; — let it pass: but what. is 
the colour ? Pure sky blue, without one grain of grey, or 
any modifying hue whatsoever; — the same brush which 
had just given the bluest parts of the sky, has been more 
loaded at the same part of the pallet, and the whole moun- 
tain thrown in with unmitigated ultra-marine. Now moun- 
tains only can become pure blue when there is so much air 
between us and them that they become mere flat, dark 
shades, every detail being totally lost : they become blue 
when they become air, and not till then. Consequently 
this part of Salvator's painting, being of hills perfectly 
clear and near, with all their details visible, is, as far as 
colour is concerned, broad, bold falsehood — the direct as- 
sertion of direct impossibility. 

In the whole range of Turner's works, recent or of old 
date, you will not find an instance of anything near enough 
to have details visible, painted in sky blue. Wherever 
Turner gives blue, there he gives atmosphere ; it is air, 
not object. Blue he gives to his sea ; so does nature ; — 
blue he gives, sapphire-deep, to his extreme distance ; so 
does nature ; — blue he gives to the misty shadows and 

turner's truth of colour. 


hollows of his hills ; so does nature : but blue he gives not, 
where detail and illumined surface are visible ; as he comes 
into light and character, so he breaks into warmth and 
varied hue ; nor is there in one of his works, and I speak 
of the Academy pictures especially, one touch of cold 
colour which is not to be accounted for, and proved right 
and full of meaning. 

I do not say that Salvator's distance is not . artist-like ; 
both in that, and in the yet more glaringly false distances of 
Titian above alluded to, and in hundreds of others of equal 
boldness of exaggeration, I can take delight, and perhaps 
should be sorry to see them other than they are ; but it is 
somewhat singular to hear people talking of Turner's ex- 
quisite care and watchfulness in colour as false, while they 
receive such cases of preposterous and audacious fiction 
with the most generous and simple credulity. 

5. Again, in the upper sky of the .picture of Xicolas 
Poussin, before noticed, the clouds are of a very fine 
clear olive-green, about the same tint as the brightest 
parts of the trees beneath them. They cannot have 
altered, (or else the trees must have been painted in 
grey,) for the hue is harmonious and well united with the 
rest of the picture, and the blue and white in the centre of 
the sky are still fresh and pure. Xow a green sky in open 
and illumined distance is very frequent, and very beautiful ; 
but rich olive-green clouds, as far as I am acquainted with 
nature, are a piece of colour in which she is not apt to in- 
dulge. You will be puzzled to show me such a thing in 
the recent works of Turner." Again, take any important 
group of trees, I do not care whose— Claude's, Salvator's, 
or Poussin's — with lateral light (that in the Marriage of 

* There is perhaps nothing more characteristic of a great colourist 
than his power of using greens in strange places without their being felt 
as sueh, or at least than a constant preference of green grey to purple 
grey. And this hue of Poussin's clouds would have been perfectly 


turner's truth of colour. 

Isaac and Rebecca, or Gaspar's Sacrifice of Isaac, for in- 
stance :) Can it be seriously supposed that those murky 
browns and melancholy greens are representative of the 
tints of leaves under full noonday sun % I know that you 
cannot help looking upon all these pictures as pieces of 
dark relief against a light wholly proceeding from the 
distances ; but they are nothing of the kind — they are 
noon and morning effects with full lateral light. Be so 
kind as to match the colour of a leaf in the sun (the dark- 
est you like) as nearly as you can, and bring your matched 
colour and set it beside one of these groups of trees, and 
take a blade of common grass, and set it beside any part 
of the fullest light of their foregrounds, and then talk 
about the truth of colour of the old masters ! 

And let not arguments respecting the sublimity or fidel- 
ity of impression be brought forward here. I have noth- 
ing whatever to do with this at present. I am not talking 
about what is sublime, but about what is true. People 
attack Turner on this ground ; — they never speak of beauty 
or sublimity with respect to him, but of nature and truth, 
and let them support their own favorite masters on the 
same grounds. Perhaps I may have the very deepest ven- 
eration for the feeling of the old masters, but I must not 
let it influence me now— my business is to match colours, 
not to talk sentiment. Neither let it be -said that I 
am going too much into details, and that general truths 
may be obtained by local falsehood. Truth is only to be 
measured by close comparison of actual facts ; we may 
talk forever about it in generals, and prove nothing. We 

agreeable and allowable, had there been gold or crimson enough in the 
rest of the picture to have thrown it into grey. It is only because the 
lower clouds are pure white and blue, and because the trees are of the 
same colour as the clouds, that the cloud colour becomes false. There 
is a fine instance of a sky, green in itself, but turned grey by the opposi- 
tion of warm colour, in Turner's Devonport with the Dockyards. 

turner's truth of colour. 


cannot tell what effect falsehood may produce on this or 
that person, but we can very well tell what is false and 
what is not, and if it produce on our senses the effect of 
truth, that only demonstrates their imperfection and inac- 
curacy, and need of cultivation. Turner's colour is glar- 
ing to one person's sensations, and beautiful to another's. 
This proves nothing. Poussin's colour is right to one, soot 
to another. This proves nothing. There is no means of 
arriving at any conclusion but close comparison of both 
with the known and demonstrable hues of nature, and 
this comparison will invariably turn Claude or Poussin 
into blackness, and even Turner into grey. 

Whatever depth of gloom may seem to invest the ob- 
jects of a real landscape, yet a window with that landscape 
seen through it, will invariably appear a broad space of 
light as compared with the shade of the room walls ; and 
this single circumstance may prove to us both the intensi- 
ty and the diffusion of daylight in open air, and the ne- 
cessity if a picture is to be truthful in effect of colour, 
that it should tell as a broad space of graduated illumina- 
tion — not, as do those of the old masters, as a patchwork 
of black shades. Their works are nature in mourning 
weeds, — oi)S' ev rfklw KaOapco TeOpafi/juevoc, aX)C vrrb crvfjL/nL- 
ryel <JKia. 

6. It is true that there are, here and there, in the Acad- 
emy pictures, passages in which Turner has translated 
the unattainable intensity of one tone of colour into the 
attainable pitch of a higher one : the golden green for 
instance, of intense sunshine on verdure, into pure yel- 
low, because he knows it to be impossible, with any 
mixture of blue whatsoever, to give faithfully its relative 
intensity of light, and Turner always will have his light 
and shade right, whatever it costs him in colour. But 
he docs this in rare cases, and even then over very small 
spaces ; and I should be obliged to his critics if they 


turner's truth of colour. 

would go out to some warm, mossy green bank in full 
summer sunshine, and try to reach its tone ; and when 
they find, as find they will, Indian yellow and chrome 
look dark beside it, let them tell me candidly which is 
nearest truth, the gold of Turner, or the mourning and 
murky olive browns and verdigris greens in which 
Claude, with the industry and intelligence of a Sevres 
china painter, drags the laborious bramble leaves over 
his childish foreground. 

7. But it is singular enough that the chief attacks on 
Turner for overcharged brilliancy, are made, not when 
there could by any possibility be any chance of his out- 
stepping nature, but when he has taken subjects which 
no colours of earth could ever vie with or reach, such, 
for instance, as his sunsets among the high clouds. 
"When I come to speak of skies, I shall point out what 
divisions, proportioned to their elevation, exist in the 
character of clouds. It is the highest region, — that 
exclusively characterized by white filmy, multitudinous, 
and quiet clouds, arranged in bars, or streaks, or flakes, 
of which I speak at present, a region which no landscape 
painters have ever made one effort to represent, except 
"Rubens and Turner — the latter taking it for his most 
favourite and frequent study. Now we have been speak- 
ing hitherto of what is constant and necessary in nature, 
of the ordinary effects of daylight on ordinary colours, 
and we repeat again, that no gorgeousness of the pallet 
can reach even these. But it is a widely different thing 
when nature herself takes a colouring fit, and does some- 
thing extraordinary, something really to exhibit her 
power. She has a thousand ways and means of rising 
above herself, but incomparably the noblest manifestations 
of her capability of colour are in these sunsets among the 
high clouds. I speak especially of the moment before the 
gun sinks, when his light turns pure rose-colour, and when 



this light falls upon a zenith covered with countless cloud- 
forms of inconceivable delicacy, threads and flakes of 
vapour, which would in common daylight be pure snow 
white, and which give therefore fair field to the tone of 
light. There is then no limit to the multitude, and no 
check to the intensity of the hues assumed. The whole 
sky from the zenith to the horizon becomes one molten, 
mantling sea of colour and fire ; every black bar turns 
into massy gold, every ripple and wave into unsullied, 
shadowless, crimson, and purple, and scarlet, and colours 
for which there are no words in language, and no ideas in 
the mind, — tilings which can only be conceived while they 
are visible, — the intense hollow blue of the upper sky 
melting through it all, — showing here deep, and pure, 
and lightless, there, modulated by the filmy, formless 
body of the transparent vapour, till it is lost impercep- 
tibly in its crimson and gold. Now there is no connection, 
no one link of association or resemblance between those 
skies and the work of any mortal hand but Turner's. 
He alone has followed nature in these her highest efforts ; 
he follows her faithfully, but far behind ; follows at such, 
a distance below her intensity that the Napoleon of last 
year's exhibition, and the Temeraire of the year before, 
would look colourless and cold if the eye came upon them 
after one of nature's sunsets anions the high clouds. 

8. But there are a thousand reasons why this should not 
be believed. The concurrence of circumstances necessary 
to produce the sunsets of which I speak does not take 
place above five or six times in a summer, and then only 
for a space of from five to ten minutes, just as the sun 
reaches the horizon. Considering how seldom peojile 
think of looking for sunset at all, and how seldom, if they 
do, they are in a position from which it can be fully seen, 
the chances that their attention should be awake, and 
their position favourable, during these few flying instants 


turner's truth or colour. 

of the year, is almost as nothing. What can the citizen, 
who can see only the red light on the canvas of the 
wagon at the end of the street, and the crimson colour of 
the bricks of his neighbour's chimney, know of the flood 
of fire which deluges the sky from the horizon to the 
zenith ? What can even the quiet inhabitant of the 
English lowlands, whose scene for the manifestation of 
the fire of heaven is limited to the tops of hayricks, 
and the rooks' nests in the old elm-trees, know of the 
mighty passages of splendour which are tossed from Alp 
to Alp over the azure of a thousand miles of champaign ? 
Even granting the constant vigor of observation, and 
supposing the possession of such impossible knowledge, 
it needs but a moment's reflection to prove how incapable 
the memory is of retaining for any time the distinct 
image of the sources even of its most vivid impressions. 
What recollection have we of the sunsets which delighted 
us last year? We may know that they were magnificent, 
or glowing, but no distinct image of colour or form is 
retained— nothing of whose degree (for the great difficulty 
with the memory is to retain, not facts, but degrees of 
fact) we could be so certain as to say of anv thing now 
presented to us, that it is like it. If we did say so, we 
should be wrong ; for we may be quite certain that the 
energy of an inrpression fades from the memory, and 
becomes more and more indistinct every day ; and thus 
we compare a faded and indistinct image with the 
decision and certainty of one present to the senses. How 
constantly do we affirm that the thunder-storm of last 
week was the most terrible one we ever saw in our lives, 
because we compare it, not with the thunder-storm of last 
year, but with the faded and feeble recollection of it. 
And so, when we enter an exhibition, as we have no defi- 
nite standard of. truth before us, our feelings are toned 
down and subdued to the quietness of colour, which is all 

turner's truth of colour. 


that human power can ordinarily attain to ; and when we 
turn to a piece of higher and closer truth, approaching 
the pitch of the colour of nature, but to which Ave are 
not guided, as we should be in nature, by corresponding 
gradations of light everywhere around us, but which is 
isolated and cut off suddenly by a frame and a wall, and 
surrounded by darkness and coldness, w T hat can we expect 
but that it should surprise and shock the feelings ? 

9. Suppose, where the Napoleon hung in the Academy 
last year, there could have been left, instead, an opening in 
the wall, and through that opening, in the midst of the 
obscurity of the dim room and the smoke-laden atmos- 
phere, there could suddenly have been poured the full 
glory of a tropical sunset, reverberated from the sea: 
How would you have shrunk, blinded, from its scarlet 
and intolerable lightnings ! What picture in the room 
would not have been blackness after it % And why then 
do you blame Turner because he dazzles yon ? Does not 
the falsehood rest with those who do not? There was 
not one hue in this whole picture which was not far 
below what nature would have used in the same cir- 
cumstances, nor was there one inharmonious or at vari- 
ance with the rest ; — the stormy blood-red of the hori- 
zon, the scarlet of the breaking sunlight, the rich crimson 
browns of the w T et and illumined sea-weed ; the pure gold 
and purple of the upper sky, and, shed through it all, the 
deep passage of solemn blue, where the cold moonlight 
fell on one pensive spot of the limitless shore — all were 
given with harmony as perfect as their colour was intense ; 
and if, instead of passing, as I doubt not you did, in the 
hurry of your unreflecting prejudice, you had paused but 
so much as one quarter of an hour before the picture, you 
would have found the sense of air and space blended with 
every line, and breathing in every cloud, and every colour 
instinct and radiant with visible, glowing, absorbing light. 


turner's truth or colour. 

10. It is to be observed, however, in general, that wherev- 
er in brilliant effects of this kind, we approach to anything 
like a true statement of nature's colour, there mnst yet be 
a distinct difference in the impression we convey, because 
we cannot approach -her light. All such hues are usually 
given by her with an accompanying intensity of sun- 
beams which dazzles and overpowers the eye, so that it 
cannot rest on the actual colours, nor understand what 
they are ; and hence in art, in rendering all effects of 
this kind, there must be a want of the ideas of imitation, 
which are the great source of enjoyment to the ordinary 
observer; because we can only give one series of truths, 
those of colour, and are unable to give the accompanying 
truths of light, so that the more true we are in colour, the 
greater, ordinarily, will be the discrepancy felt between 
the intensity of hue and the feebleness of light. But the 
painter who really loves nature will not, on this account, 
give you a faded and feeble image, which indeed may 
appear to you to be right, because your feelings can 
detect no discrepancy in its parts, but which he knows to 
derive its apparent truth from a systematized falsehood. 
.No; he will make you understand and feel that art 
cannot imitate nature — that where it appears to do so, it 
must malign her, and mock her. He will give you, or 
state to you, such truths as are in his power, completely 
and perfectly ; and those which he cannot give, he will 
leave to your imagination. If you are acquainted with 
nature, you will know all he has given to be true, and you 
will supply from your memory and from your heart that 
light which he cannot give. If you are unacquainted 
with nature, seek elsewhere for whatever may happen to 
satisfy your feelings; but do not ask for the truth which 
you would not acknowledge and could not enjoy. 

11. Nevertheless the aim and struggle of the artist must 
always be to do away with this discrepancy as far as the 

turner's truth of colour. 


powers of art admit, not by lowering his colour, but by 
increasing his light. And it is indeed by this that the 
works of Turner are peculiarly distinguished from those 
of all other eolourists, by the dazzling intensity, namely, 
of the light which he sheds through every hue, and 
which, far more than their brilliant colour, is the real 
source of their overpowering effect upon the eye, an effect 
so reasonably made the subject of perpetual animadver- 
sion, as if the sun which they represent were quite a 
quiet, and subdued, and gentle, and manageable lumi- 
nary, and never dazzled anybody, under any circum- 
stances whatsoever. 1 am fond of standing by a bright 
Turner in the Academy, to listen to the unintentional 
compliments of the crowd — "What a glaring thing!" 
" I declare I can't look at it ! " " Don't it hurt your 
eyes?" — expressed as if they were in the constant habit 
of looking the sun full in the face, with the. most perfect 
comfort and entire facility of vision. 

12. It is curious after hearing people malign some of 
Turner's noble passages of light, to pass to some really 
ungrammatical and false picture of the old masters, in 
which we have colour given without light. Take, for 
instance, the landscape attributed to Rubens, No. 175, in 
the Dulwich Gallery. I never have spoken, and 1 never 
will speak of Rubens but with the most reverential feel- 
ing; and whatever imperfections in his art may have 
resulted from his unfortunate want of seriousness and 
incapability of true passion, his calibre of mind was origi- 
nally such that I believe the world may see another Titian 
and another Raffaelle, before it sees another Rubens. 
But I have before alluded to the violent license he occa- 
sionally assumes ; and there is an instance of it in this 
pictuie apposite to the immediate question. The sudden 
streak and circle of yellow and crimson in the middle of 
the sky of that picture, being the occurrence of a frag- 


turner's truth of colour. 

merit of a sunset colour in pure daylight, and in perfect 
isolation, while at the same time it is rather darker, when 
.translated into light and shade, than brighter than the 
rest of the sky, is a case of such bold absurdity, come 
from whose pencil it may, that if every error which Tur- 
ner has fallen into in the whole course of his life were 
concentrated into one, that one would not equal it ; and 
as our connoisseurs gaze upon this with never-ending ap- 
probation, we must not be surprised that the accurate per- 
ceptions which thus take delight in pure fiction, should 
consistently be disgusted by Turner's fidelity and truth. 

13. Hitherto, however, we have been speaking of vivid- 
ness of pure colour, and showing that it is used by Turner 
only where nature uses it, and in no less degree. But we 
have hitherto, therefore, been speaking of a most limited 
and uncharacteristic portion of his works ; for Turner, 
like all great colourists, is distinguished not more for his 
power of dazzling and overwhelming the eye with inten- 
sity of effect, than for his power of doing so by the use of 
subdued and gentle means. There is no man living more 
cautious and sparing in the use of pure colour than Tur- 
ner. To say that he never perpetrates anything like the 
blue excrescences of foreground, or hills shot like a 
housekeeper's best silk gown, with blue and reel, which 
certain of our celebrated artists consider the essence of 
the sublime, would be but a poor compliment. I might 
as well praise the portraits of Titian because they have 
not the grimace and paint of a clown in a pantomime ; 
but I do say, and say with confidence, that there is 
scarcely a landscape artist of the present day, however 
sober and lightless their effects may look, who does not 
employ more pure and raw colour than Turner; and that 
the ordinary tinsel and trash, or rather vicious and peril- 
ous stuff, according to the power of the mind producing 
it, with which the walls of our Academy are half covered, 

turner's truth of colour. 


disgracing, in weak hands, or in more powerful, degrad- 
ing and corrupting our whole school of art, is based on a 
system of colour beside which Turner's is as Yesta to 
Cotytto — the chastity of fire to the foulness of earth. 
Every picture of this great colourist has, in one or two 
parts of it, (kej^notes of the wdiole,) points where the sys- 
tem of each individual colour is concentrated by a single 
stroke, as pure as it can come from the pallet; but 
throughout the great space and extent of even the most 
brilliant of his works, there will not be found a raw colour ; 
that is to say, there is no warmth which has not grey in it, 
and no blue which has not warmth in it; and the tints in 
which he most excels and distances all other men, the 
most cherished and inimitable portions of his colour, are, 
as with all perfect colourists they must be, his greys. 

It is instructive in this respect, to compare the sky of 
the Mercury and Argus with the various illustrations of the 
serenity, space, and sublimity naturally inherent in blue 
and pink, of which every year's exhibition brings forward 
enough and to spare. In the Mercury and Argus, the 
pale and vaporous blue of the heated sky is broken with 
grey and pearly white, the gold colour of the light warm- 
ing it more or less as it approaches or retires from the sun ; 
but throughout, there is not a grain of pure blue ; all is 
subdued and warmed at the same time by the mingling 
grey and gold, up to the very zenith, where, breaking 
through the flaky mist, the transparent and deep azure of 
the sky is expressed with a single crumbling touch ; the 
key-note of the whole is given, and every part of it passes 
at once far into glowing and aerial space. The reader can 
scarcely fail to remember at once sundry works in contra- 
distinction to this, with great names attached to them, in 
which the sky is a sheer piece of plumber's and glazier's 
work, and should be valued per yard, with heavy extra 
charge for ultramarine. 


turner's truth of colour. 

14. Throughout the works of Turner, the same truthful 
principle of delicate and subdued colour is carried out 
with a care and labour of which it is difficult to form a 
conception. He gives a dash of pure white for his 
highest light ; but all the other whites of his picture are 
pearled down with grey or gold. He gives a fold of 
pure crimson to the drapery of his nearest figure, but all 
his other crimsons will be deepened with black, or 
warmed with yellow. In one deep reflection of his distant 
sea, we catch a trace of the purest blue ; but all the rest 
is palpitating with a varied and delicate gradation of har- 
monized tint, which indeed looks vivid blue as a mass, but 
is only so by opposition. It is the most difficult, the most 
rare thing, to "find in his works a definite space, however 
small, of unconnected colour ; that is, either of a blue 
which has nothing to connect it with the warmth, or of a 
warm colour which has nothing to connect it with the greys 
of the whole ; and the result is, that there is a general sys- 
tem and under-current of grey pervading the whole of his 
colour, out of which his highest lights, and those local 
touches of pure colour, which are, as I said before, the key- 
notes of the picture, flash with the peculiar brilliancy and 
intensity in which he stands alone. 

15. Intimately associated with this toning down and 
connection of the colours actually used, is his inimitable 
power of varying and blending them, so as never to give 
a quarter of an inch of canvas without a change in it, a 
melody as well as a harmony of one kind or another. 
Observe, I am not at present speaking of this as artistical 
or desirable in itself, not as a characteristic of the great 
colourist, but as the aim of the simple follower of nature. 
For it is strange to see how marvellously nature varies 
the most general and simple of her tones. A mass of 
mountain seen against the light, may, at first, appear all 
of one blue ; and so it is, blue as a whole, by comparison 

turner's truth of colour. 


with other parts of the landscape. But look how that 
blue is, made up. There are black shadows in it under 
the crags, there are green shadows along the turf, there 
are grey half-lights upon the rocks, there are faint 
touches of stealthy warmth and cautious light along their 
edges; every bush, every stone, every tuft of moss has its 
voice in the matter, and joins with individual character 
in the universal will. Who is there who can do this as 
Turner will ? The old masters would have settled the 
matter at once with a transparent, agreeable, but monoto- 
nous grey. Many among the moderns would probably be 
equally monotonous with absurd and false colours. Tur- 
ner only would give the uncertainty — the palpitating, 
perpetual change — the subjection of all to a great in- 
fluence, without one part or portion being lost or merged 
in it — the unity of action with infinity of agent. 

16. And I wish to insist on this the more particularly, 
because it is one of the eternal principles of nature, that 
she will not have one line nor colour, nor one portion nor 
atom of space without a change in it. There is not one 
of her shadows, tints, or lines that is not in a state of per- 
petual variation : I do not mean in time, but in space. 
There is not a leaf in the world wdiich has the same col- 
our visible over its whole surface ; it has a white high 
light somewhere ; and in proportion as it curves to or 
from that focus, the colour is brighter or greyer. Pick 
up a common flint from the roadside, and count, if you 
can, its changes and hues of colour. Every bit of bare 
ground under your feet has in it a thousand such — the 
grey pebbles, the warm ochre, the green of incipient vege- 
tation, the greys and blacks of its reflexes and shadows, 
might keep a painter at work for a month, if he were 
obliged to follow them touch for touch: how much more, 
when the same infinity of change is carried out with 
vastness of object and space. The extreme of distance 


turner's truth of colour. 

may appear at first monotonous ; but the least examina- 
tion will show it to be full of every kind of change — that 
its outlines are perpetually melting and appearing again 
— sharp here, vague there — now lost altogether, now just 
hinted and still confused among each other — and so 
forever in a state and necessity of change. Hence, 
wherever in a painting we have unvaried colour extended 
even over a small space, there is falsehood. Nothing 
can be natural which is monotonous ; nothing true which 
only tells one story. The brown foreground and rocks 
of Claude's Sinon before Priam are as false as colour can 
be : first, because there never was such a brown under 
sunlight, for even the sand and cinders (volcanic tufa) 
about Naples, granting that he had studied from these 
ugliest of all formations, are, where they are fresh 
fractured, golden and lustrous in full light compared to 
these ideals of crag, and become, like all other rocks, quiet 
and grey when weathered ; and secondly, because no rock 
that ever nature stained is without its countless breaking 
tints of varied vegetation. And even Staufield, master as 
he is of rock form, is apt in the same way to give us here 
and there a little bit of mud, instead of stone. 

17. What I am next about to say with respect to Tur- 
ner's colour, I should wish to be received with caution, 
as it admits of dispute. I think that the first approach to 
viciousness of colour in any master is commonly indicated 
chiefly by a prevalence of purple, and an absence of 
yellow. I think nature mixes yellow with almost 
every one of her hues, never, or very rarely, using red 
without it, but frequently using yellow with scarcely 
any red ; and I believe it will be in consequence found 
that her favourite opposition, that which generally charac- 
terizes and gives tone to her colour, is yellow and black, 
passing, as it retires, into white and blue. It is beyond 
dispute that the great fundamental opposition of Eubens 

turner's truth of colour. 


is yellow and black; and that on this, concentrated in one 
part of the picture, and modified in various greys through- 
out, chiefly depend the tones of all his finest works. And 
in Titian, though there is a far greater tendency to the 
purple than in Rubens, I believe no red is ever mixed with 
the pure blue, or glazed over it, which has not in it a 
modifying quantity of yellow. At all events, I am nearly 
certain that whatever rich and pure purples are introduced 
locally, by the great colourists, nothing is so destructive of 
all fine colour as the slightest tendency to purple in gene- 
ral tone ; and I am equally certain that Turner is dis- 
tinguished from all the vicious colourists of the present 
day, by the foundation of all his tones being black, yellow, 
and the intermediate greys, while the tendency of our 
common glare-seekers is invariably to pure, cold, impossi- 
ble purples. So fond indeed is Turner of black and yel- 
low, that he has given us more than one composition, both 
drawings and paintings, based on these two colours alone, 
of which the magnificent Quilleboeuf, which I consider 
one of the most perfect pieces of simple colour existing, 
is a most striking example ; and I think that where, as in 
some of the late Venices, there has been something like a 
marked appearance of purple tones, even though exquisite- 
ly corrected by vivid orange and warm green in the fore- 
ground, the general colour has not been so perfect or 
truthful : my own feelings would always guide me rather 
to the warm greys of such pictures as the Snow Storm, or 
the glowing scarlet and gold of the Napoleon and Slave 
Ship. But I do not insist at present on this part of the 
subject, as being perhaps more proper for future examina- 
tion, when we are considering the ideal of colour. 

18. The above remarks have been made entirely with re- 
ference to the recent Academy pictures, which have been 
chiefly attacked for their colour. I by no means intend 
them to apply to the early works of Turner, those which 


turner's truth of colour. 

the enlightened newspaper critics are perpetually talking 
about as characteristic of a time when Turner was "really 
great." He is, and was, really great, from the time when 
he first could hold a brush, but he never was so great 
as he is now. The Crossing the Brook, glorious as it is as 
a composition, and perfect in all that is most desirable 
and most ennobling in art, is scarcely to be looked upon 
as a piece of colour; it is an agreeable, cool, grey 
rendering of space and form, but it is not colour; if 
it be regarded as such, it is thoroughly false and vapid, 
and very far inferior to the tones of the same kind given 
by Claude. The reddish brown in the foreground of 
the Fall of Carthage, with all diffidence be it spoken, 
is, as far as my feelings are competent to judge, crude, 
sunless, and in every way wrong ; and both this picture 
and the Building of Carthage, though this latter is far 
the finer of the two, are quite unworthy of Turner as 
a colourist. 

19. Not so with the drawings ; these, countless as they 
are, from the earliest to the latest, though presenting 
an unbroken chain of increasing difficulty overcome, 
and truth illustrated, are all, according to their aim, 
equally faultless as to colour. Whatever we have hith- 
erto said, applies to them in its fullest extent; though 
each, being general \y the realization of some effect 
actually seen, and realized but once, requires almost a 
separate essay. As a class, they are far quieter and 
chaster than the Academy pictures, and, were they better 
known, might enable our connoisseurs to form a some- 
what more accurate judgment of the intense study of 
nature on which all Turner's colour is based. 

20. One point only remains to be noted respecting his 
system of colour generally — its entire subordination to 
light and shade, a subordination which there is no need 
to prove here, as every engraving from his works — and 

turner's truth of colour. 


few are unengraved — is sufficient demonstration of it. 
I have before shown the inferiority and unimportance 
in nature of colour, as a truth, compared with light 
and shade. That inferiority is maintained and asserted 
by all really great works of colour; but most by Turner's, 
as their colour is most intense. Whatever brilliancy 
he may choose to assume, is subjected to an inviolable 
laio of chiaroscuro, from which there is no appeal. JYo 
richness nor depth of tint is considered of value enough 
to atone for the loss of one particle of arranged light. 
No brilliancy of hue is permitted to interfere with 
the depth of a determined shadow. And hence it is, 
that while engravings from works far less splendid in 
colour are often vapid and cold, because the little colour 
employed has not been rightly based on light and shade, 
an engraving from Turner is always beautiful and forci- 
ble in proportion as the colour of the original has been 
intense, and never in a single instance has failed to 
express the picture as a perfect composition.* Powerful 
and captivating and faithful as his colour is, it is the least 

* This is saying too much ; for it Jiot unfrequently happens that the 
light and shade of the original is lost in the engraving, the effect of 
which is afterwards partially recovered, with the aid of the artist him- 
self, by introductions of new features. Sometimes, when a drawing 
depends chiefly on colour, the engraver gets unavoidably embarrassed, 
and must be assisted by some change or exaggeration of the effect ; but 
the more frequent case is, that the engraver's difficulties result merely 
from his inattention to, or wilful deviations from his original ; and that 
the artist is obliged to assist him by such expedients as the error itself 

Not unfrequently in reviewing a plate, as very constantly in review- 
ing a picture after some time has elapsed since its completion, even the 
painter is liable to make unnecessary or hurtful changes. In the plate 
of the Old Temeraire, lately published in Finden's gallery, I do not 
know whether it was Turner or the engraver who broke up the water 
into sparkling ripple, but it was a grievous mistake, and has destroyed 
the whole dignity and value of the conception. The flash of lightning 


turner's truth of colour. 

important of all his excellences, because it is the least im- 
portant feature of nature. He paints in colour, but he 
thinks in light and shade; and were it necessary, rather 
than lose one line of his forms, or one ray of his sunshine, 
would, I apprehend, be content to paint in black and 
white to the end of his life. It is by mistaking the shadow 
for the substance, and aiming at the brilliancy and the fire, 
without perceiving of what deejD-studied shade and inimi- 
table form it is at once the result and the illustration, that 
the host of his imitators sink into deserved disgrace. With 

in the Winchelsea of the England series does not exist in the original ; 
it is put in to withdraw the attention of the spectator from the sky 
which the engraver destroyed. 

There is an unfortunate persuasion among modern engravers that 
colour can be expressed by particular characters of line ; and in the en- 
deavour to distinguish by different lines, different colours of equal depth, 
they frequently lose the whole system of light and shade. It will hardly 
be credited that the piece of foreground on the left of Turner's Modem 
Italy, represented in the Art-Union engraving as nearly coal black, is 
in the original of a pale warm grey, hardly darker than the sky. All 
attempt to record colour in engraving, is heraldry out of its place : the 
engraver has no power beyond that of expressing transparency or 
opacity by greater or less openness of line, (for the same depth of tint 
is producible by lines with very different intervals.) 

Texture of surface is only in a measure in the power of the steel, and 
ought not to be laboriously sought after ; nature's surfaces are distin- 
guished more by form than texture ; a stone is often smoother than a 
leaf ; but if texture is to be given, let the engraver at least be sure that 
he knows what the texture of the object actually is, and how to repre- 
sent it. The leaves in the foreground of the engraved Mercury and 
Argus have all of them three or four black lines across them. What 
sort of leaf texture is supposed to be represented by these ? The stones 
in the foreground of Turner's Llanthony received from the artist the 
powdery texture of sandstone ; the engraver covered them with con- 
torted lines and turned them into old timber. 

A still more fatal cause of failu-e is the practice of making out or 
finishing what the artist left incomplete. In the England plate of Dud- 
ley, there are two offensive blank windows in the large building. with the 
chimney on the left. These are engraver's improvements ; in the 
original they are barely traceable, their lines being excessively faint 



him, as with all the greatest painters, and in Turner's 
more than all, the hue is a beautiful auxiliary in working 
out the great impression to be conveyed, but is not the 
source nor the essence of that impression ; it is little more 
than a visible melody, given to raise and assist the mind 
in the reception of nobler ideas — as sacred passages of 
sweet sound, to prepare the feelings for the reading of the 
mysteries of God. 

1 M. P., 152. See Two Paths, Appendix, 216; El. Drawing, 160-6; 
Temperance in Colour, 3 S.V., 5. 

and tremulous as with the movement of heated air between them and 
the spectator : their vulgarity is thus taken away, and the whole build- 
ing- left in one grand unbroken mass. It is almost impossible to break 
engravers of this unfortunate habit. I have even heard of their taking 
journeys of some distance in order to obtain knowledge of the details 
which the artist intentionally omitted ; and the evil will necessarily 
continue until they receive something like legitimate artistical educa- 
tion. In one or two instances, however, especially in small plates, they 
have shown great f eeling ; the plates of Miller (especially those of the 
Tamer illustrations to Scott) are in most instances perfect and beautiful 
interpretations of the originals ; so those of G-oodall in Rogers's works, 
and Cousens's in the Rivers of France ; those of the Yorkshire series 
are also very valuable, though singularly inferior to the drawings. But 
none even of these men appear capable of producing a large plate. They 
have no knowledge of the means of rendering their lines vital or valu- 
able ; cross-hatching stands for everything ; and inexcusably, for though 
we cannot expect every engraver to etch like Rembrandt or Albert 
Durer, or every wood-cutter to draw like Titian, at least something of 
the system and power of the grand works of those men might be pre- 
served, and some mind and meaning stolen into the reticulation of the 
restless modern lines. 




1. It is not my intention to enter, in the present portion 
of the work, upon any examination of Turner's particular 
effects of light. We must know something about what is 
beautiful before we speak of these. 

At present I wish only to insist upon two great princi- 
ples of chiaroscuro, which are observed throughout the 
works of the great modern master, and set at defiance by 
the ancients — great general laws, which may, or may not, 
be sources of beauty, but whose observance is indisputa- 
bly necessary to truth. 

Go out some bright sunny day in winter, and look for a 
tree with a broad trunk, having rather delicate boughs 
hanging down on the sunny side, near the trunk. Stand 
four or five yards from it, with your back to the sun. 
You will find that the boughs between you and the trunk 
of the tree are very indistinct, that you confound them in 
places with the trunk itself, and cannot possibly trace one 
of them from its insertion to its extremity. But the 
shadows which they cast upon the trunk, you will find 
clear, dark, and distinct, perfectly traceable through their 
whole course, except when they are interrupted by the 
crossing boughs. And -if you retire backwards, you will 
come to a point where you cannot see the intervening 
boughs at all, or only a fragment of them here and there, 
but can still see their shadows perfectly plain. Xow, this 
may serve to show you the immense prominence and im- 
portance of shadows where there is anything like bright 
light. They are, in fact, commonly far more conspicuous 



than the thing which casts them, for being as large as the 
casting object, and altogether made up of a blackness 
deeper than the darkest part of the casting object (while 
that object is also broken np with positive and reflected 
lights), their large, broad, unbroken spaces tell strongly 
on the eye, especially as all form is rendered partially, 
often totally invisible within them, and as they are sud- 
denly terminated by the sharpest lines which nature ever 
shows. For no outline of objects whatsoever is so sharp 
as the edge of a close shadow. Put your ringer over a 
piece of white paper in the sun, and observe the difference 
between the softness of the outline of the linger itself and 
the decision of the edge of the shadow. And note also 
the excessive gloom of the latter. A piece of black cloth, 
laid in the light, will not attain one-fourth of the black- 
ness of the paper under the shadow. 

2. Hence shadows are in reality, ivhen the sun is shin- 
ing, the most conspicuous thing in a landscape, next to the 
highest lights. All forms are understood and explained 
chiefly by their agency : the roughness of the bark of a 
tree, for instance, is not seen in the light, nor in the 
shade ; it is only seen between the two, where the shadows 
of the ridges explain it. And hence, if we have to ex- 
press vivid light, our very first aim must be to get the 
shadows sharp and visible • and this is not to be done by 
blackness (though indeed chalk on white paper is the only 
thing which comes up to the intensity of real shadows), 
but by keeping them perfectly flat, keen, and even. A 
very pale shadow, if it be quite flat — if it conceal the 
details of the objects it crosses — if it be grey and cold 
compared' to their color, and very sharp edged, will be 
far more conspicuous, and make everything out of it look 
a great deal more like sunlight, than a shadow ten times 
its depth, shaded off at the edge, and confounded with the 
colour of the objects on which it falls. 



3. Now the old masters of the Italian school, in almost all 
their works, directly reverse this principle : they blacken 
their shadows till the picture becomes quite appalling, and 
everything in it invisible ; but they make a point of losing 
their edges, and carrying them off by gradation ; in conse- 
quence utterly destroying every appearance of sunlight. 
All their shadows are the faint, secondary darknesses of 
mere daylight y the sun has nothing whatever to do with 
them. The shadow between the pages of the book which 
you hold in your hand is distinct and visible enough 
(though you are, I suppose, reading it by the ordinary day- 
light of your room), out of the sun ; and this weak and 
secondary shadow is all that we ever find in the Italian 
masters as indicative of sunshine. 

4. Even Cuyp and Berghem, though they know thorough- 
ly well what they are about in their foregrounds, forget the 
principle in their distances / and though in Claude's sea- 
ports, where he has plain architecture to deal with, he gives 
us something like real shadows along the stones, the moment 
we come to ground and foliage with lateral light, away go 
the shadows and the sun together. In the Marriage of Isaac 
and Rebecca, in our own gallery, the trunks of the trees 
between the water-wheel and the white figure in the 
middle distance, are dark and visible ; but their shadows 
are scarcely discernible on the ground, and are quite 
vague and lost in the building. In nature, every bit of 
the shadow would have been darker than the darkest part 
of the trunks, and both on the ground and building would 
have been defined and conspicuous ; while the trunks them- 
selves would have been faint, confused, and indistinguish- 
able, in their illumined parts, from the grass or distance. 
So in Poussin's Phocion, the shadow of the stick on the 
stone in the right hand corner is shaded off and lost, while 
you see the stick plain all the way. In nature's sunlight 
it would have been the direct reverse — you would have 



seen the shadow black and sharp all the way down; bnt 
yon would have had to look for the stick, which in all 
probability would in several places have been confused 
with the stone behind it. 

And so throughout the works of Claude, Poussin, and 
Salvator, we shall find, especially in their conventional 
foliage, and un articulated barbarisms of rock, that their 
whole sum and substance of chiaroscuro is merely the gra- 
dation and variation which nature gives in the body of 
her shadows, and that all which they do to express sun- 
shine, she does to vary shade. They take only one step, 
while she always takes two ; marking, in the first place, 
with violent decision, the great transition from sun to 
shade, and then varying the shade itself with a thousand 
gentle gradations and double shadows, in themselves 
equivalent, and more than equivalent, to all that the old 
masters did for their entire chiaroscuro. 

5. Now if there be one principle, or secret more than 
another, on which Turner depends for attaining brilliancy 
of light, it is his clear and exquisite drawing of the 
shadows. Whatever is obscure, misty, or undefined in 
his objects or his atmosphere, he takes care that the 
shadows be sharp and clear — and then he knows that the 
light will take care of itself, and he makes them clear, 
not by blackness, but by excessive evenness, unity, and 
sharpness of edge. He will keep them clear and distinct, 
and make them felt as shadows, though they are so faint, 
that, but for their decisive forms, we should not hare ob- 
served them for darkness at all. He will throw them one 
after another like transparent veils, along the earth and 
upon the air, till the whole picture palpitates with them, 
and yet the darkest of them will be a faint grey, imbued 
and penetrated with light. The pavement on the left of the 
Hero and Leander is about the most thorough piece of this 
kind of sorcery that I remember in art ; but of the general 


principle, not one of his works is without constant evi- 
dence. Take the vignette of the garden opposite the 
title-page of Rogers's Poems, and note the drawing of the 
nearest balustrade on the right. The balusters themselves 
are faint and misty, and the light through them feeble ; 
but the shadows of them are sharp and dark, and the in- 
tervening light as intense as it can be left. And see how 
much more distinct the shadow of the running figure is on 
the pavement, than the checkers of the pavement itself. 
Observe the shadows on the trunk of the tree at page 91, 
how they conquer all the details of the trunk itself, and 
become darker and more conspicuous than any part of the 
boughs or limbs, and so in the vignette to Campbell's 
Beech-tree's Petition. Take the beautiful concentration 
of all that is most characteristic of Italy as she is, at page 
168 of Rogers's Italv, where we have the loner shadows of 
the trunks made by far the most conspicuous thing in the 
whole foreground, and hear how Wordsworth, the keenest- 
eyed of all modern poets for what is deep and essential in 
nature, illustrates Turner here, as we shall find him doing 
in all other points. 

"At the rootT 
Of that tall pine, the shadow of whose bare 
And slender stem, while here I sit at eve, 
Oft stretches tow'rds rne, like a long straight path, 
Traced faintly in the greensward." 

Excursion, Book VI. 

So again in the Rhymer's Grlen (Illustrations to Scott), 
note the intertwining of the shadows across the path, and 
the checkering of the trunks by them ; and again on the 
bridge in the Armstrong's Tower; and yet more in the 
long avenue of Brieime, where we have a length of two or 
three miles expressed by the playing shadows alone, and 
the whole picture filled with sunshine by the long lines of 
darkness cast by the figures on the snow. The Hampton 



Court in the England series, is another very striking in- 
stance. In fact, the general system of execution observ- 
able in all Turner's drawings, is to work his grounds 
richly and fully, sometimes stippling, and giving infinity 
of delicate, mysterious, and ceaseless detail ; and on the 
ground so prepared to cast his shadows with one dash of 
the brush, leaving an excessively sharp edge of watery color. 

6. Such at least is commonly the case in such coarse and 
broad instances as those I have above given. Words are 
not accurate enough, nor delicate enough to express or 
trace the constant, all-pervading influence of the finer and 
vaguer shadows throughout his works, that thrilling in- 
fluence which gives to the light they leave, its passion and 
its power. There is not a stone, not a leaf, not a cloud, 
over which light is not felt to be actually passing and pal- 
pitating before our eyes. There is the motion, the actual 
wave and radiation of the darted beam — not the dull uni- 
versal daylight, which falls on the landscape without life, 
or direction, or speculation equal on all things and dead 
on all things ; but the breathing, animated, exultant light, 
which feels, and receives, and rejoices, and acts — which 
chooses one thing and rejects another — which seeks, and 
finds, and loses again — leaping from rock to rock, from 
leaf to leaf, from wave to wave — glowing, or flashing, or 
scintillating, according to what it strikes, or in its holier 
moods, absorbing and enfolding all things in the deep ful- 
ness of its repose, and then again losing itself in bewilder- 
ment, and doubt, and dimness ; or perishing and passing 
away, entangled in drifting mist, or melted into melan- 
choly air, but still — kindling, or declining, sparkling or 
still, it is the living light, which breathes in its deepest, 
most entranced rest, which sleeps, but ilever dies. 

7. I need scarcely insist farther on the marked distinction 
between the works of the old masters and those of the great 
modern landscape-painters in this respect. It is one which 



the reader can perfectly well work out for himself, by the 
slightest systematic attention, — one which lie will find ex- 
isting, not merely between this work and that, bnt through- 
out the whole body of their productions, and down to every 
leaf and line. And a little careful watching of nature, 
especially in her foliage and foregrounds, and comparison 
of her with Claude, Graspar Poussin, and Salvator, will 
soon show him that those artists worked entirely on con- 
ventional principles, not representing what they saw, but 
what they thought would make a handsome picture ; and 
even when they went to nature, which I believe to have 
been a very much rarer practice with them than their 
biographers would have us suppose, they copied her like 
children, drawing what they knew to be there, but not 
what they saw there. 45 " I believe you may search the fore- 
grounds of Claude, from one end of Europe to an- 
other, and you will not find the shadow of one leaf cast 
upon another. You will find leaf after leaf painted more 
or less boldly or brightly out of the black ground, and 
you will find dark leaves defined in perfect form upon 
the light ; but you will not find the form of a single leaf 
disguised or interrupted by the shadow of another. And 
Poussin and Salvator are still farther from anything like 
genuine truth. There is nothing in their pictures which 
might not be manufactured in their painting-room, with a 
branch or two of brambles and a bunch or two of weeds 
before them, to give them the form of the leaves. And 
it is refreshing to turn from their ignorant and impotent 
repetitions of childish conception, to the clear, close, gen- 
uine studies of modern artists; for it is not Turner only 
(though here, as in all other points, the first), who is 
remarkable for fine and expressive decision of chiaro- 
scuro. Some passages by J. D. Harding are thoroughly 

* Compare Sect. II. Chap. II. § 6. 



admirable in this respect, though this master is getting a 
little too much into a habit of general keen execution, 
which prevents the parts which ought to be especially de- 
cisive from being felt as such, and which makes his pic- 
tures, especially the large ones, look a little thin. But 
some of his later passages of rock foreground have, taken 
in the abstract, been beyond all praise, owing to the ex- 
quisite forms and firm expressiveness of their shadows. 
And the chiaroscuro of Stanfield is equally deserving of 
the most attentive study. 

8. The second point to which I wish at present to direct 
attention has reference to the arrangement of light and 
shade. It is the constant habit of nature to use both her 
highest lights and deepest shadows in exceedingly srncdl 
quantity ; always in points, never in masses* She will 
give a large mass of tender light in sky or water, impres- 
sive by its quantity, and a large mass of tender shadow 
relieved against it, in foliage, or hill, or buildiiio; but the 
light is alioays subdued if it he extensive — the shadow 
alvmys feeble if it be broad. She will then fill up all the 
rest of her picture with middle tints and pale greys of 
some sort or another, and on this quiet and harmonious 
whole, she will touch her high lights in spots — the foam 
of an isolated wave — the sail of a solitary vessel — the flash 
of the sun from a wet roof — the gleam of a single white- 
washed cottage — or some such sources of local brilliancy, 
she will use so vividly and delicately as to throw every- 
thing else into definite shade by comparison. And then 
taking up the gloom, she will use the black hollows of 
some overhanging bank, or the black dress of some shaded 
figure, or the depth of some sunless chink of wall or win- 
dow, so sharply as to throw everything else into definite 
light by comparison ; thus reducing the whole mass of her 

* Elements of Drawing, 03, note. 




picture to a delicate middle tint, approaching, of course, 
here to light, and there to gloom; but yet sharply sepa- 
rated from the utmost decrees either of the one or the 

9. Now it is a curious thing that none of our writers on 
art seem to have noticed the great principle of nature in 
this respect. They all talk of deep shadow as a thing 
that may be given in quantity, — one-fourth of the picture, 
or, in certain effects, much more. Barry, for instance, 
says that the practice of the great painters, who " best 
understood the effects of chiaroscuro," was, for the most 
part, to make the mass of middle tint larger than the 
light, and the mass of dark larger than the masses of light 
and middle tint together, i. <?., occupying more than one- 
half of the picture. Now I do not know what we are to 
suppose is meant by " understanding chiaroscuro." If it 
means being able to manufacture agreeable patterns in 
the shape of pyramids, and crosses, and zigzags, into which 
arms and legs are to be persuaded, and passion and mo- 
tion arranged, for the promotion and encouragement of 
the cant of criticism, such a principle may be productive 
of the most advantageous results. But if it means, being 
acquainted with the deep, perpetual, systematic, unintru- 
sive simplicity and unwearied variety of nature's chiaro- 
scuro — if it means the perception that blackness and sub- 
limity are not synonymous, and that space and light may 
possibly be coadjutors — then no man, who ever advocated 
or dreamed of such a principle, is anything more than a 
novice, blunderer, and trickster in chiaroscuro. 

10. And my firm belief is, that though colour is inveighed 
against by all artists, as the great Circe of art— the great 
transformer of mind into sensuality — no fondness for it, no 
study of it, is half so great a peril and stumbling-block to 
the young student, as the admiration he hears bestowed on 
such artificial, false, and juggling chiaroscuro, and the in- 



struction he receives, based on such principles as that 
given us by Fuseli — that " mere natural light and shade, 
however separately or individually true, is not always 
legitimate chiaroscuro in art." It may not always be 
agreeable to a sophisticated, unfeeling, and perverted 
mind ; but the student had better throw up his art at once 
than proceed on the conviction that any other can ever be 
legitimate. I believe I shall be perfectly well able to 
prove, in following parts of the work, that " mere natural 
light and shade " is the only fit and faithful attendant of 
the highest art ; and that all tricks — all visible, intended 
arrangement — all extended shadows and narrow lights — ■ 
everything, in fact, in the least degree artificial, or tend- 
ing to make the mind dwell upon light and shade as such, 
is an injury, instead of an aid, to conceptions of high ideal 
dignity. I believe I shall be able also to show that nature 
manages her chiaroscuro a great deal more neatly and 
cleverly than people fancy ; — that " mere natural light 
and shade" is a very much finer thing than most artists 
can put together, and that none think they can improve 
upon it but those who never understood it. 

11. But however this may be, it is beyond dispute that 
every permission given to the student to amuse himself 
with painting one figure all black, and the next all white, 
and throwing them out with a background of nothing — 
every permission given to him to spoil his pocket-book 
with sixths of sunshine and sevenths of shade, and other 
such fractional sublimities, is so much more difficulty laid 
in the way of his ever becoming a master ; and that none 
are in the right road to real excellence but those who are 
struggling to render the simplicity, purity, and inexhaus- 
tible variety of nature's own chiaroscuro in open, cloud- 
less daylight, giving the expanse of harmonious light — 
the speaking, decisive shadow — and the exquisite grace, 
tenderness, and grandeur of aerial opposition of local 



colour and equally illuminated lines. ~No chiaroscuro is so 
difficult as this ; and none so noble, chaste or impressive. 
On this part of the subject, however, I must not enlarge 
at present. I wish now only to speak of those great prin- 
ciples of chiaroscuro which nature observes, even when 
she is most working for effect — when she is playing with 
thunderclouds and sunbeams, and throwing one thing out 
and obscuring another, with the most marked artistical 
feeling and intention; — even then, she never forgets her 
great rule, to give precisely the same quantity of deepest 
shade which she does of highest light, and no more / 
points of the one answering to points of the other, and 
both vividly conspicuous and separated from all the rest 
of the landscape. 

12. And it is most singular that this separation, which is 
the great source of brilliancy in nature, should not only be 
unobserved, but absolutely forbidden by our great writers 
on art, who are always talking about connecting the light 
with the shade by imperceptible gradations. Now so 
surely as this is done, all sunshine is lost, for impercep- 
tible gradation from light to dark is the characteristic of 
objects seen out of sunshine, in what is, in landscape, 
shadow. Nature's principle of getting light is the direct 
reverse. She will cover her whole landscape with middle 
tint, in which she will have as many gradations as you 
please, and a great many more than you can paint ; but on 
this middle tint she touches her extreme lights, and ex- 
treme darlis, isolated and sharp, so that the eye goes to 
them directly, and feels them to be key-notes of the whole 
composition. And although the dark touches are less at- 
tractive than the light ones, it is not because they are less 
distinct, but because they exhibit nothing; while the 
bright touches are in parts where everything is seen, and 
where in consequence the eye goes to rest. But yet the 
high lights do not exhibit anything in themselves, they are 



too bright and dazzle the eye ; and having no shadows in 
them, cannot exhibit form, for form can only be seen by 
shadow of some kind or another. Hence the highest lights 
and dee-pest darks agree in this, that nothing is seen in 
either of them ; that both are in exceedingly small quan- 
tity, and both are marked and distinct from the middle 
tones of the landscape — the one by their brilliancy, the 
other by their sharp edges, even though many of the more 
energetic middle tints may approach their intensity very 

13. I need scarcely do more than tell you to glance at 
any one of the works of Turner, and you will perceive in 
a moment the exquisite observation of all these principles ; 
the sharpness, decision, conspicuousness, and excessively 
small quantity, both of extreme light and extreme shade, 
all the mass of the picture being graduated and delicate 
middle tint. Take up the Rivers of France, for instance, 
and turn over a few of the plates in succession. 

1. Chateau Gaillard (vignette). — Black figures and boats, 
points of shade ; sun-touches on castle, and wake of boat, 
of light. . See how the eye rests on both, and observe how 
sharp and separate all the lights are, falling in spots, edged 
by shadow, but not melting off into it. 

2. Orleans. — The crowded figures supply both points 
of shade and light. Observe the delicate middle tint of 
both in the whole mass of buildings, and compare this 
with the blackness of Canaletto's shadows, against which 
neither figures nor anything else can ever tell, as points of 

3. Blois. — White figures in boats, buttresses of bridge, 
dome of church on the right, for light ; woman on horse- 
back, heads of boats, for shadow. Note especially the 
isolation of the light on the church dome. 

4. Chateau de Blois. — Torches and white figures for 
light, roof of chapel and monks' dresses for shade. 



5. Beaugency. — Sails and spire opposed to buoy and 
boats. An exquisite instance of brilliant, sparkling, iso- 
lated touches of morning light. 

6. AmboisC. — White sail and clouds ; cypresses under 

7. Chateau of Amboise. — The boat in the centre, with its 
reflections, needs no comment. Note the glancing lights 
under the bridge. This is a very glorious and perfect 

8. St. Julien, Tours. — Especially remarkable for its 
preservation of deep points of gloom, because the whole 
picture is one of extended shade. 

I need scarcely go on. The above instances are taken 
as they happen to come, without selection. The reader 
can proceed for himself. I may, however, name a few 
cases of chiaroscuro more especially deserving of his study. 
Scene between Quilleboeuf and Yillequier, — Tlonfleur, — 
Light Towers of the ITeve, — On the Seine between Mantes 
and Vernon, — The Lantern at St. Cloud, — Confluence of 
Seine and Marne, — Troyes, — the first and last vignette, 
and those at pages 36, 63, 95, 184, 192, 203, of Eogers's 
Poems ; the first and second in Campbell, St. Maurice in 
the Italy, where note the black stork ; Brienne, Skiddaw, 
Mayburgh, Melrose, Jedburgh, in the illustrations to Scott, 
and the vignettes to Milton, not because these are one whit 
superior to others of his works, but because the laws of 
which we have been speaking are more strikingly de- 
veloped in them, and because they have been well engrav- 
ed. It is impossible to reason from the larger plates, in 
which half the chiaroscuro is totally destroyed by the 
haggling, blackening and " making out " of the engravers. 

1 M. P., 171. 

Elements of Drawing-, 79, et seq. ; Lectures on Art, 155 ; Kinds of 
Light, 179, et passim. 

U. — Landscape Art. 



1. Perspective is not of the slightest use, except in rudi- 
mentary work. You can draw the rounding line of a ta- 
ble in perspective, but you cannot draw the sweep of a 
sea bay ; you can foreshorten a log of wood by it, but you 
cannot foreshorten an arm. Its laws are too gross and 
few to be applied to any subtle form; therefore, as yon 
must learn to draw the subtle forms by the eye, certainly 
you may draw the simple ones. No great painters ever 
trouble themselves about perspective, and very few of 
them know its laws ; they draw everything by the eye, 
and, naturally enough, disdain in the easy parts of their 
work rules which cannot help them in difficult ones. It 
would take about a month's labour to draw imperfectly, 
by laws of perspective, what any great Venetian will draw 
perfectly in five minutes, when he is throwing a wreath 
of leaves round a head, or bending the curves of a pattern 
'in and out among the folds of drapery. It is true that 
when perspective was first discovered, everybody amused 
themselves with it * and all the great painters put fine 
saloons and arcades behind their madonnas, merely to show 
that they could draw in perspective : but even this was 
generally done by them only to catch the public eye, and 



they disdained the perspective so much, that though they took 
the greatest pains with the circlet of a crown, or the rim 
of a crystal cup, in the heart of their picture, they would 
twist their capitals of columns and towers of churches about 
in the background in the most wanton way, wherever they 
liked the lines to go, provided only they left just perspec- 
tive enough to please the public. In modem days, I 
doubt if any artist among us, except David Roberts, knows 
so much perspective as would enable him to draw a Gothic 
arch to scale, at a given angle and distance. Turner, 
though he was professor of perspective to the Royal Acad- 
emy, did not know what he professed, and never, as far as 
I remember, drew a single building in true perspective in his 
life ; he drew them only with as much perspective as suited 
him. Prout also knew nothing of perspective, and twisted 
his buildings, as Turner did, into whatever shapes he liked. 
I do not justify this ; and would recommend the student 
at least to treat perspective with common civility, but to 
pay no court to it. The best way he can learn it, by him- 
self, is by taking a pane of glass, fixed in a frame, so that 
it can be set upright before the eye, at the distance at 
which the proposed sketch is intended to be seen. Let 
the eye be placed at some fixed point, opposite the middle 
of the pane of glass, but as high or as low as the student 
likes ; then with a brush at the end of a stick, and a little 
body-colour that will adhere to the glass, the lines of the 
landscape may be traced on the glass, as you see them 
through it. When so traced they are all in true perspec- 
tive. If the glass be sloped in any direction, the lines are 
still in true perspective, only it is perspective calculated for 
a sloping plane, while common perspective always supposes 
the plane of the picture to be vertical. It is good, in early 
practice, to accustom yourself to enclose your subject, before 
sketching it, with a light frame of wood held upright before 
you ; it will show you what you may legitimately take into 



your picture, and what choice there is between a narrow 
foreground near you, and a wide one farther off ; also, what 
height of tree or building you can properly take in, &c* 

Of figure drawing, nothing is said in the following 
pages, because I do not think figures, as chief subjects, 
can be drawn to any good purpose by an amateur. As 
accessaries in landscape, they are just to be drawn on the 
same principles as anything else. 


When you begin to read this book, sit down very near 
the window, and shut the window. I hope the view out of 
it is pretty ; but, whatever the view may be, we shall find 
enough in it for an illustration of the first principles of 
perspective (or, literally, of "looking through"). 

Every pane of your window may be considered, if you 
choose, as a glass picture ; and what you see through it, 
as painted on its surface. 

And if, holding your head still, you extend your hand 
to the glass, you may, with a brush full of any thick 
colour, trace, roughly, the lines of the landscape on the 

But, to do this, you must hold your head very still. 
ISTot only you must not move it sideways, nor up and 
down, but it must not even move backwards or forwards ; 
for, if you move your head forwards, you will see more 
of the landscape through the pane ; and, if you move it 
backwards, you will see less : or considering the pane of 
glass as a picture, when you hold your head near it, the 

* If the student is fond of architecture and wishes to know more of 
perspective than he can learn in this rough way, Mr. Rouncirnan (of 49 
Accacia Road, St. John's Wood), who was my first drawing- master, and 
to whom I owe many happy hours, can teach it him quickly, easily, and 



objects are painted small, arid a great many of them go 
into a little space ; but, when you hold your head some 
distance back, the objects are painted larger upon the 
pane, and fewer of them go into the field of it. 

But, besides holding your head still, you must, when 
you try to trace the picture on the glass, shut; one of your 
eyes. If you do not, the point of the brush appears 
double ; and, on farther experiment, you will observe 
that each of your eyes sees the object in a different place 
on the glass, so that the tracing which is true to the sight 
of the right eye is a couple of inches (or more, according 
to your distance from the pane), to the left of that which 
is true to the sight of the left. 

Thus, it is only possible to draw what you see through 
the window rightly on the surface of the glass, by fixing 
one eye at a given point, and neither moving it to the 
right nor left, nor up nor down, nor backwards nor for- 
wards. Every picture drawn in true perspective may be - 
considered as an upright piece of glass,* on which the 
objects seen through it have been thus drawn. Perspec- 
tive can, therefore, only be cpiite right, by being calcu- 
lated for one fixed position of the eye of the observer; 
nor will it ever appear deceptively right unless seen pre- 
cisely from the point it is calculated for. Custom, how- 
ever, enables us to feel the rio4itness of the work on usino; 
both our eyes, and to be satisfied with it, even when we 
stand at some distance from the point it is designed for. 

Supposing that, instead of a window, an unbroken 
plate of crystal extended itself to the right and left of you, 
and high in front, and that you had a brush as long as you 

* If the glass were not upright, but sloping, the objects might still 
be drawn through it, but their perspective would then be different. 
Perspective, as commonly taught, is always calculated for a vertical 
plane of picture. 



wanted (a mile long, suppose), and could paint with such a 
brush, then the clouds high up, nearly over jour head, and 
the landscape far away to the right and left, might be 
traced, and painted, on this enormous crystal field.* But 
if the field were so vast (suppose a mile high and a mile 
wide), certainly, after the picture was done, you would not 
stand as near to it, to see it, as you are now sitting near to 
your window. In order to trace the upper clouds through 
your great glass, you would have had to stretch your neck 
quite back, and nobody likes to bend their neck back to 
see the top of a picture. So you would walk a long way 
back to see the great picture — a quarter of a mile, per- 
haps, — and then all the perspective would be wrong, and 
would look quite distorted, and you would discover that 
you ought to have painted it from the greater distance, if 
you meant to look at it from that distance. Thus, the 
distance at which you intend the observer to stand from 
a picture, and for which you calculate the perspective, 
ought to regulate to a certain degree the size of the pic- 
ture. If you place the point of observation near the 
canvas, you should not make the picture very large : vice 
versa, if you place the point of observation far from the 
canvas, you should not make it very small ; the fixing, 
therefore, of this point of observation determines, as a 
matter of convenience, within certain limits, the size of 
your picture. But it does not determine this size by any 
perspective law ; and it is a mistake made by many 
writers on perspective, to connect some of their rules 
definitely with the size of the picture. F or, suppose that 
you had what you now see through your window painted 
actually upon its surface, it would be quite optional to 
cut out any piece you chose, with the piece of the land- 

* Supposing- it to have no thickness ; otherwise the images would be 
distorted by refraction. 



scape that was painted on it. Ton might have only half 
a pane, with a single tree; or a whole pane, with two 
trees and a cottage ; or two panes, with the whole farm- 
yard and pond ; or four panes, with farmyard, pond, and 
foreground. And any of these pieces, if the landscape 
upon them were, as a scene, pleasantly composed, would 
be agreeable pictures, though of quite different sizes ; and 
yet they would be all calculated for the same distance of 

In the following treatise, therefore, I keep the size of 
the picture entirely undetermined. I consider the field 
of canvas as wholly unlimited, and on that condition de- 
termine the perspective laws. After we know how to 
apply those laws without limitation, we shall see what limi- 
tations of the size of the picture their results may render 

But although the size of the picture is thus independ- 
ent of the observer's distance, the size of the object repre- 
sented in the picture is not. On the contrary, that size is 
fixed by absolute mathematical law ; that is to say, sup- 
posing you have to draw a tower a hundred feet high, and 
a quarter of a mile distant from you, the height which you 
ought to give that tower on your paper depends, with 
mathematical precision, on the distance at which you in- 
tend your paper to be placed. So, also, do all the rules 
for drawing the form of the tower, whatever it may be. 

Hence, the first thing to be done in beginning a draw- 
ing is to fix, at your choice, this distance of observation, 
or the distance at which you mean to stand from your 
paper. After that is determined, all is determined, ex- 
cept only the ultimate size of your picture, which you may 
make greater, or less, not by altering the size of the things 
represented, but by taking in more, or fewer of them. 
So, then, before proceeding to apply any practical perspec- 
tive rule, we must always have our distance of observa- 



tion marked, and the most convenient way of marking it is 
the following : 



a. The Sight-point. — Let a b c d, Fig. 1., be your sheet 
of paper, the larger the better, though perhaps we may 
cut out of it at last only a small piece for our picture, 
such as the dotted circle nopq. This circle is not intended 
to limit either the size or shape of our picture : you may 
ultimately have it round or oval, horizontal or upright, 

r N/' No 

/' s \ 







Fig. 1. 

small or large, as you choose. I only dot the line to give 
you an idea of whereabouts you will probably like to 
have it ; and, as the operations of perspective are more 
conveniently performed upon paper underneath the picture 
than above it, I put this conjectural circle at the top of 
the paper, about the middle of it, leaving plenty of paper 
on both sides and at the bottom. Now, as an observer 
generally stands near the. middle of a picture to look at it, 
we had better at first, and for simplicity's sake, fix the 



point of observation opposite the middle of our conjectural 
picture. So take the point s, the centre of the circle n o 
p q ; — or, which will be simpler for you in your own work,^ 
take the point s at random near the top of your paper, and 
strike the circle nopq round it, any size you like. Then 
the point s is to represent the point opposite which you 
wish the observer of your picture to place his eye, in look- 
ing at it. Call this point the " Sight-point." 

b. The Sight-line. — Through the Sight-point, s, draw a 
horizontal line, g- h, right across your paper from side to 
side, and call this line the " Sight-line." 

This line is of great practical use, representing the level 
of the eye of the observer all through the picture. You 
will find hereafter that if there is a horizon to be repre- 
sented in your picture, as of distant sea or plain, this line 
defines it. M. P., 334. 

Rubens makes his horizon an oblique line. His object 
is to carry the eye to a given point in the distance. The 
road winds to it, the clouds fly at it, the trees nod to it, a 
flock of sheep scamper towards it, a carter points his whip 
at it, his horses pull for it, the figures push for it, and the 
horizon slopes towards it. If the horizon had been hori- 
zontal, it would have embarrassed everything and every- 

c. The Station-line.— From s let fall a perpendicular 
line, s e, to the bottom of the paper, and call this line the 
" Station-line." 

This represents the line on which the observer stands, at 
a greater or less distance from the picture ; and it ought 
to be imagined as drawn right out from the paper at the 
point s. Hold your paper upright in front of you, and 
hold your pencil horizontally, with its point against the 
point s, as if you wanted to run it through the paper 
there, and the pencil will represent the direction in which 



the line s k ouovht to be drawn. But as all the measure- 
ments which we have to set upon this line, and operations 
which we have to perform with it, are just the same when 
it is drawn on the paper itself, below s, as they would be 
if it were represented by a wire in the position of the 
levelled pencil, and as they are much more easily per- 
formed when it is drawn on the paper, it is always in 
practice so drawn. 

d. The Station-point. — On this line, mark the distance s 
t at your pleasure, for the distance at which you wish your 
picture to be seen, and call the point t the " Station-point/' 

In practice, it is generally advisable to make the dis- 
tance s t about as great as the diameter of your intended 
picture ; and it should, for the most part, be more rather 
than less ; but, as I have just stated, this is quite arbitrary. 
However, in this figure, as an approximation to a gener- 
ally advisable distance, I make the distance s t equal to 
the diameter of the circle n o p q. Xow, having fixed 
this distance, s t, all the dimensions of the objects in our 
picture are fixed likewise, and for this reason : — 



P B 





E A 

Fig. 2. 

Let the upright line a b, Fig. 2., represent a pane of 
glass placed where our picture is to be placed ; but seen 



at the side of it, edgeways ; let s be tlie Sight-point ; s t 
the Station-line, which, in this figure, observe, is in its 
true position, drawn out from the paper, not down upon 
it ; and t the Station-point. 

Suppose the Station-line s t to be continued, or in 
mathematical language " produced," through s, far beyond 
the pane of glass, and let p q be a tower or other upright 
object situated on or above this line. 

Now the apparent height of the tower p q is measured 
by the angle qtp, between the rays of light which come 
from the top and bottom of it to the eye of the observer. 
But the actual height of the image of the tower on the 
pane of glass a b, between us and it, is the distance p' q/ 
between the points where the rays traverse the glass. 

Evidently, the farther from the point t we place the 
glass, making s t longer, the larger will be the image ; 
and the nearer we place it to t, the smaller the image, 
and that in a fixed ratio. Let the distance d t be the 
direct distance from the Station-point to the foot of the 
object. Then, if we place the glass a b at one-third of 
that whole distance, p' q' will be one-third of the real 
height of the object; if we place the glass at two-thirds 
of the distance, as at e f, p" q" (the height of the image 
at that point) will be two-thirds the height* of the object, 
and so on. Therefore the mathematical law is that p' q' 
will be to p q as s t to d t. I put this ratio clearly by 
itself that you may remember it : 

p' q' : p q : : s t : d t 

or in words : 

p dash q dash is to p q as s t to d t 
In which formula, recollect that p' q' is the height of 

* I say "height" instead of "magnitude," for a reason stated in 
Appendix I. , to which you will soon be referred. Read on here at 



the appearance of the object on the picture ; p q the 
height of the object itself; s the Sight-point; t the 
Station-point; d a point at the direct distance of the 
object ; though the object is seldom placed actually on 
the line t s produced, and may be far to the right or left 
of it, the formula is still the same. 

For let s, Fig. 3., be the Sight-point, and a b the glass 
— here seen looking down on its ujpjper edge, not side- 
ways ; — then if the tower (represented now, as on a map, 
by the dark square), instead of being at d on the line s t 
produced, be at e, to the right (or left) of the spectator, 
still the apparent height of the 
tower on a b will be as s 7 t to 
e t, which is the same ratio as 
that of s t to D T. 

JMow in many perspective 
problems, the position of an ob- 
ject is more conveniently ex- 
pressed by the two measure- 
ments d t and d e, than by the 
single oblique measurement e t. 

I shall call d t the " direct 
distance" of the object at e, 
and d e its "lateral distance." 
It is rather a license to call d t 
its " direct " distance, for e t is 
the more direct of the two ; but 

there is no other term which would not cause confusion. 

Lastly, in order to complete our knowledge of the 
position of an object, the vertical height of some point in 
it, above or below the eye, must be given ; that is to say, 
either d p or n Q in Fig. 2 * : this I shall call the " vertical 

Fig. 3. 

* P and q being points indicative of the place of the tower's base and top. 
In this figure both are above the sight-line ; if the tower were below the 
spectator both would be below it, and therefore measured below D. 



distance " of. the point given. In all perspective prob- 
lems these three distances and the dimensions of the 
object, must be stated, otherwise the problem is imper- 
fectly given. It ought not to be required of us merely 
to draw a room or a church in perspective ; but to draw 
this room from this corner, and that church on that spot, 
in perspective. For want of knowing how to base their 
drawings on the measurement and place of the object, I 
have known practised students represent a parish church, 
certainly in true perspective, but with a nave about two 
miles and a half long. 

It is true that in drawing landscapes from nature the 
sizes and distances of the objects cannot be accurately 
known. When, however, we know how to draw them 
rightly, if their size were given, we have only to assume 
a rational approximation to their size, and the resulting 
drawing will be true enough for all intents and purposes. 
It does not in the least matter that we represent a distant 
cottage as eighteen feet long when it is in reality only 
seventeen ; but it matters much that we do not represent 
it as eighty feet long, as we easily might if we had not 
been accustomed to draw from measurement. Therefore, 
in all the following . problems the measurement of the 
object is given. 

The student must observe, however, that in order to bring 
the diagrams into convenient compass, the measurements 
assumed are generally very different from any likely to 
occur in practice. Thus, in Fig. 3., the distance d s would 
be probably in practice half a mile or a mile, and the dis- 
tance t s, from the eye of the observer to the paper, only 
two or three feet. The mathematical law is however pre- 
cisely the same, whatever the proportions ; and I use such 
proportions as are best calculated to make the diagram clear. 

Now, therefore, the conditions of a perspective problem 
are the following : 



The Sight-line a n given, Fig. 1.; 

The Sight-point s given ; 

The Station-point t given ; and 

The three distances of the object,"* direct, lateral, and 
vertical, with its dimensions given. 
The size of the picture, conjecturally limited by the 
dotted circle, is to be determined afterwards at our pleas- 
ure. On these conditions I proceed at once to construc- 
tion. Ele. Perspective. 


As the horizontal sight-line is drawn through, the sight- 
point, and the sight-point is opposite the eye, the sight- 
line is always on a level with the eye. Above and below 
the sight-line, the eye comprehends, as it is raised or de- 
pressed while the head is held upright, about an equal 
space ; and, on each side of the sight-point, about the same 
space is easily seen without turning the head ; so that if a 
picture represented the true field of easy vision, it ought 
to be circular, and have the sight-point in its centre. But 
because some parts of any given view are usually more 
interesting than others, either the uninteresting parts are 
left out, or somewhat more than would generally be seen 
of the interesting parts is included, by moving the field 
of the picture a little upwards or downwards, so as to throw 
the sight-point low or high. The operation will be under- 
stood in a moment by cutting an aperture in a piece of 
pasteboard, and moving it up and down in front of the 
eye, without moving the eye. It will be seen to embrace 
sometimes the low, sometimes the high objects, without 
altering their perspective, only the eye will be opposite 

* More accurately, ' ' the three distances of any point, either in the 
object itself, or indicative of its distance." 



the lower part of the aperture when it sees the higher ob- 
jects, and vice versa. 

. There is no reason, in the laws of perspective, why the 
picture should not be moved to the right or left of the 
sight-point, as well as up or down ; but there is this prac- 
tical reason. The moment the spectator sees the hori- 
zon in a picture high, he tries to hold his head high, that 
is, in its right place. When he sees the horizon in a pic- 
ture low, he similarly tries to put his head low. But, if 
the sight-point is thrown to the left hand or right hand, 
he does not understand that he is to step a little to the 
right or left ; and if he places himself, as usual, in the 
middle, all the perspective is distorted. Hence it is gene- 
rally unadvisable to remove the sight-point laterally, from 
the centre of the picture. The Dutch painters, however, 
fearlessly take the license of placing it to the right or left ; 
and often with good effect. 

The rectilinear limitation of the sides, top, and base of 
the picture is of course quite arbitrary, as the space of a 
landscape would be which was seen through a window ; 
less or more being seen at the spectator's pleasure, as he 
retires or advances. 

The distance of the station -point is not so arbitrary. In 
ordinary cases it should not be less than the intended 
greatest dimension (height, or breadth) of the picture. In 
most works by the great masters it is more ; they not only 
calculate on their pictures being seen at considerable dis- 
tances, but they like breadth of mass in buildings, and dis- 
like the sharp angles which always result from station- 
points at short distances.* 

* Tne greatest masters are also fond of parallel perspective, that is 
to say, of having one side of their buildings fronting them full, and 
therefore parallel to the picture plane, while the other side vanishes to 
the side point. This is almost always done in figure backgrounds 
securing simple and balanced lines. 



Whenever perspective, clone by true rule, looks wrong, 
it is always because the station-point is too near. Deter- 
mine, in the outset, at what distance the spectator is likely 
to examine the work, and never use a station-point within 
a less distance. 

There is yet another and a very important reason, not 
only for care in placing the station-point, but for that 
accurate calculation of distance and observance of meas- 
urement which have been insisted on throughout this 
work. All drawings of objects on a reduced scale are, if 
rightly executed, drawings of the appearance of the ob- 
ject at the distance which in true perspective reduces it 
to that scale. They are not small drawings of the object 
seen near, but drawings the real size of the object seen far 
off. Thus if you draw a mountain in a landscape, three 
inches high, you do not reduce all the features of the 
near mountain so as to come into three inches of paper. 
You could not do that. All that you can do is to give the 
appearance of the mountain, when it is so far off that 
three inches of paper would really hide it from you. It is 
precisely the same in drawing any other object. A face 
can no more be reduced in scale than a mountain can. 
It is infinitely delicate already; it can only be quite 
rightly rendered on its own scale, or at least on the 
slightly diminished scale which would be fixed by placing 
the plate of glass, supposed* to represent the field of the 
picture, close to the figures. Correggio and Raphael were 
both fond of this slightly subdued magnitude of figure. 
Colossal painting, in which Correggio excelled all others, 
is usually the enlargement of a small picture (as a colossal 
sculpture is of a small statue), in order to permit the sub- 
ject of it to be discerned at a distance. The treatment of 
colossal (as distinguished from ordinary) paintings will 
depend therefore, in general, on the principles of optics 
more than on those of perspective, though, occasionally, 



portions may be represented as if they were the pro- 
jection of near objects on a plane behind them. In all 
points the subject is one of great difficulty and subtlety; 
and its examination does not fall within the compass of 
this essay. 

Lastly, it will follow from these considerations, and the 
conclusion is one of great practical importance, that, 
though pictures may be enlarged, they cannot be reduced, 
in copying them. All attempts to engrave pictures com- 
pletely on a reduced scale are, for this reason, nugatory. 
The best that can be done is to give the aspect of the 
picture at the distance which reduces it in perspective to 
the size required ; or, in other words, to make a drawing 
of the distant effect of the picture. Good painting, like 
nature's own work, is infinite, and unreduceable. 



1. "We may arrange nearly all existing landscape under 
the following heads : — 

I. Heroic. — Representing an imaginary world, inhabit- 
ed by men not perhaps perfectly civilized, but noble, and 
usually subjected to severe trials, and by spiritual powers 
of the highest order. It is frequently without architecture ; 
never without figure-action, or emotion. Its principal 
master is Titian. 

II. Classical. — Representing an imaginary world, in- 
habited by perfectly civilized men, and by spiritual powers 
of an inferior order. 

It generally assumes this condition of things to have ex- 
isted among the Greek and Roman nations. It contains 
usually architecture of an elevated character, and always 
incidents of figure-action and emotion. Its principal 
master is Nicolo Poussin. 

III. Pastoral. — Representing peasant life and its daily 
work, or such scenery as may naturally be suggestive of 
it, consisting usually of simple landscape, in part subjected 
to agriculture, with figures, cattle, and domestic buildings. 
No supernatural being is ever visibly present. It does not 
in ordinary cases admit architecture of an elevated char- 
acter, nor exciting incident. Its principal master is Cuyp. 

IY. Contemplative. — Directed principally to the observ- 
ance of the powers of Nature, and record of the historical 
associations connected with landscape, illustrated by, or 
contrasted with, existing states of human life. JSTo super- 
natural being is visibly present. It admits every variety 



of subject, and requires, in general, figure incident, but not 
of an exciting character. It was not developed completely 
until recent times. Its principal master is Turner.* 

2. These are the four true orders of landscape, not of 
course distinctly separated from each other in all cases, 
but very distinctly in typical examples. Two spurious 
forms require separate note. 

(a.) Picturesque. — This is indeed rather the degrada- 
tion (or sometimes the undeveloped state) of the Contem- 
plative, than a distinct class ; but it may be considered 
generally as including pictures meant to display the skill 
of the artist, and his powers of composition ; or to give 
agreeable forms and colours, irrespective of sentiment. It 
will include much modern art, with the street views and 
church interiors of the Dutch, and the works of Canaletto, 
Guardi, Tempesta, and the like. 

(b.) Hybrid. — Landscape in which the painter endeav- 
ours to unite their reconcilable sentiment of two or more 
of the above-named classes. Its principal masters are 
Berghem and Wouvermans. 

Passing for the present by these inferior schools, we 
find that all true landscape, whether simple or exalted, 
depends primarily for its interest on connection with hu- 
manity, or with spiritual powers. Banish your heroes and 
nymphs from the classical landscape — its laurel shades 
will move you no more. Show that the dark clefts of the 
most romantic mountain are uninhabited and untraversed ; 

* I have been embarrassed in assigning the names to these orders of 
art, the term " Contemplative" belonging in justice nearly as much to 
the romantic and pastoral conception as to the modern landscape. I in- 
tended, originally, to call the four schools — Eomantic, Classic, Georgic, 
and Theoretic — which would have been more accurate, and more con- 
sistent with the nomenclature of the second volume ; but would not 
have been pleasant in sound, nor, to the general reader, very clear in 



it will cease to be romantic. Fields without shepherds 
and without fairies will have no gaiety in their green, nor 
will the noblest masses of ground or colours of cloud arrest 
or raise your thoughts, if the earth has no life to sustain, 
and the heaven none to refresh. 

3. It might perhaps be thought that, since from scenes in 
which the figure was principal, and landscape symbolical 
and subordinate (as in the art of Egypt), the process of 
ages had led us to scenes in which landscape was principal 
and the figure subordinate, — a continuance in the same 
current of feeling might bring forth at last an art from 
which humanity and its interests should wholly vanish, 
leaving us to the passionless admiration of herbage and 
stone. But this will not, and cannot be. For observe the 
parallel instance in the gradually increasing importance of 
dress. From the simplicity of Greek design, concentrat- 
ing, I suppose, its skill chiefly on the naked form, the 
course of time developed conditions of Venetian imagina- • 
tion which found nearly as much interest, and expressed 
nearly as much dignity, in folds of dress and fancies of 
decoration as in the faces of the figures themselves ; so 
that if from Veronese's Marriage in Cana we remove the 
architecture and the gay dresses, we shall not in the faces 
and hands remaining, find a satisfactory abstract of the 
picture. But try it the other way. Take out the faces; 
leave the draperies, and how then ? Put the fine dresses 
and jewelled girdles into the best group you can ; paint 
them with all Veronese's skill : will they satisfy you ? 

4. Not so. As long as they are in their due service and 
subjection — while their folds are formed by the motion of 
men, and their lustre adorns the nobleness of men — so 
long the lustre and the folds are lovely. But cast them 
from the human limbs ; — golden circlet and silken tissue 
are withered ; the dead leaves of autumn are more pre- 
cious than thev. 




This is just as true, but in a far deeper sense, of the 
weaving of the natural robe of man's sou]. Fragrant tis- , 
sue of flowers, golden circlets of clouds, are only fair 
when they meet the fondness of human thoughts, and 
glorify human visions of heaven. 

It is the leaning on this truth which, more than any 
other, has been the distinctive character of all my own 
past work. And in closing a series of Art-studies, pro- 
longed during so many years, it may be perhaps permitted 
me to point out this specialty — the rather that it has been, 
of all their characters, the one most denied. I constantly 
see that the same thing takes place in the estimation form- 
ed by the modern public of the work of almost any true 
person, living or dead. It is not needful to state here the 
causes of such error : but the fact is indeed so, that pre- 
cisely the distinctive root and leading force of any true 
man's work and way are the things denied concerning him. 

And in these books of mine, their distinctive character, 
as essays on art, is their bringing everything to a root in 
human passion or human hope. Arising first not in any 
desire to explain the principles of art, but in the endeavour 
to defend an individual painter from injustice, they have 
been coloured throughout, — nay, continually altered in 
shape, and even warped and broken, by digressions re- 
specting social questions, which had for me an interest 
tenfold greater than the work I had been forced into un- 
dertaking. Every principle of painting which I have 
stated is traced to some vital or spiritual fact ; and in my 
works on architecture the preference accorded finally to 
one school over another, is founded on a comparison of their 
influences on the life of the workman — a question by all 
other writers on the subject of architecture wholly forgot- 
ten or despised. 

The essential connection of the power of landscape with 
human emotion is not less certain, because in many im- 



pfessive pictures the link is slight or local. That the con- 
nection should exist at a single point is all that we need. 
The comparison with the dress of the body may be carried 
out into the extremest parallelism. It may often happen 
that no part of the figure wearing the dress is discernible, 
nevertheless, the perceivable fact that the drapery is worn 
by a fio'ure makes all the difference. In one of the most 
sublime figures in the world this is actually so: one of 
the fainting Marys in Tintoret's Crucifixion has cast her 
mantle over her head, and her face is lost in its shade, 
and her whole figure veiled in folds of orey. But what 
the difference is between that grey woof, that gathers 
round her as she falls, and the same folds cast in a heap 
upon the ground, that difference, and more, exists between 
the power of In ature through which humanity is seen, and 
her power in the desert. Desert — whether of leaf or sand 
— true clesertness is not in the want of leaves, but of life. 
Where humanity is not, and was not, the best natural 
beauty is more than vain. It is even terrible ; not as the 
dress cast aside from the body; but as an embroidered 
shroud hiding a skeleton. 

5. And on each side of a lwht feeling in this matter 
there lie, as usual, two opposite errors. 

The first, that of caring for man only ; and for the rest 
of the universe, little, or not at all, which, in a measure, 
was the error of the Greeks and Florentines ; the other, 
that of caring for the universe only ; for man, not at all, 
— which, in a measure, is the error of modern science, 
and of the Art connecting itself with such science. 

The degree of power which any man may ultimately 
possess in landscape-painting will depend finally on his 
perception of this influence. If he has to paint the des- 
ert, its awfulness — if the garden, its gladsomeness — will 
arise simply and only from this sensibility to the story of 
life. Without this he is nothing but a scientific median- 



ist ; this, though it cannot make him yet a painter, raises 
him to the sphere in which he may become one. Nay, the 
mere shadow and semblance of this have given dangerous 
power to works in all other respects unnoticeable ; and the 
least degree of its true presence has given value to work in 
all other respects vain. The true presence, observe, of sym- 
pathy with the spirit of man. Where this is not, sympa- 
thy with any higher spirit is impossible. 

5 M. P., 205-210. 




§ 1. The reader has probably been surprised at my as- 
sertions made often before now, and reiterated here, that 
the minutest portion of a great composition is helpful to 
the whole. It certainly does not seem easily conceivable 
that this should be so. I will go farther, and say that it is 
inconceivable. But it is the fact. 

We shall discern it to be so by taking one or two com- 
positions to pieces, and examining the fragments. In 
doing which, we must remember that a great composition 
always has a leading emotional purpose, technically called 
its motive, to which all its lines and forms have some re- 
lation. Undulating lines, for instance, are expressive of 
action ; and would be false in effect if the motive of the 
picture was one of repose. Horizontal and angular lines 
are expressive of rest and strength ; and would destroy a 
design whose purpose was to express disquiet and feeble- 
ness. It is therefore necessary to ascertain the motive be- 
fore descending to the detail. 

§ 2. One of the simplest subjects, in the series of the 
Rivers of France, is "Rietz, near Saumur." The pub- 
lished Plate gives a better rendering than usual of its tone 
of light; and my rough etching, Plate 5, sufficiently 
shows the arrangement of its lines. What is their 
motive ? 

To get at it completely, we must know something of the 

The district through which it here flows is, for the most 



part, a low place, yet not altogether at the level of the 
stream, but cut into steep banks of chalk or gravel, thirty 
or forty feet high, running for miles at about an equal 
height above the water. 

These banks are excavated by the peasantry, partly for 
houses, partly for cellars, so economizing vineyard space 
above ; and thus a kind of continuous village runs along 
the river-side, composed half of caves, half of rude build- 
ings, backed by the cliff, propped against it, therefore 
always leaning away from the river ; mingled with over- 
lappings of vineyard trellis from above, and little towers or 
summer-houses for outlook, when the grapes are ripe, or 
for gossip over the garden wall. 

§ 3. It is an autumnal evening, then, by this Loire side. 
The day has been hot, and the air is heavy and misty still ; 
the sunlight warm, but dim ; the brown vine-leaves mo- 
tionless : all else quiet. 'Not a sail in sight on the river,* 
its strong, noiseless current lengthening the stream of low 

The motive of the picture, therefore, is the expression 
of rude but perfect peace, slightly mingled with an indo- 
lent languor and despondency ; the peace between inter- 
vals of enforced labour ; happy, but listless, and having 
little care or hope about the future ; cutting its home out 
of this gravel bank, and letting the vine and the river 
twine and undermine as they will ; careless to mend or 
build, so long as the walls hold together, and the black 
fruit swells in the sunshine. 

§ 4. To get this repose, together with rude stability, we 
have therefore horizontal lines and bold angles. The 
grand horizontal space and sweep of Turner's distant 
river show perhaps better in the etching than in the 

* The sails in the engraving- were put in to catch the public eye. 
There are none in the drawing. 



Plate ; "but depend wholly for value on the piece of near 
wall. It is the vertical line of its dark side which drives 
the eye up into the distance, right against the horizontal, 
and so makes it felt, while the flatness of the stone pre- 
pares the eye to understand the flatness of the river. Far- 
ther : hide with your finger the little ring on that stone, 
and you will find the river has stopped flowing. That ring 
is to repeat the curved lines of the river bank, which ex- 
press its line of current, and to bring the feeling of them 
down near us. On the other side of the road the horizon- 
tal lines are taken up again by the dark pieces of wood, 
without which we should still lose half our space. 

Next : The repose is to be not only perfect, but indo- 
lent : the repose of out-wearied people : not caring much 
what becomes of them. 

You see the road is covered with litter. Even the 
crockery is left outside the cottage to dry in the sun, after 
being washed up. The steps of the cottage door have been 
too high for comfort originally, only it was less trouble to 
cut three large stones than four or five small. They are 
now all aslope and broken, not repaired for years. Their 
weighty forms increase the sense of languor throughout the 
scene, and of stability also, because we feel how difficult 
it would be to stir them. The crockery has its work to do 
also ; — the arched door on the left being necessary to show 
the great thickness of walls and the strength they require 
to prevent falling in of the cliff above ; — as the horizontal 
lines must be diffused on the right, so this arch must be 
diffused on the left ; and the large round plate on one 
side of the steps, with the two small ones on the other, are 
to carry down the element of circular curvature. Hide 
them, and see the result. 

As they carry the arched group of forms down, the 
arched window-shutter diffuses it upward, where all the 
lines of the distant buildings suggest one and the same 



idea of disorderly and careless strength, mingling masonry 
with rock. 

§ 5. So far of the horizontal and curved lines. How 
of the radiating ones ? What has the black vine trellis 
got to do % 

Lay a pencil or ruler parallel with its lines. You will 
find that they point to the massive building in the dis- 
tance. To which, as nearly as is possible without at once 
showing the artifice, every other radiating line points 
also ; almost ludicrously when it is once pointed out ; 
even the curved line of the top of the terrace runs into it, 
and the last sweep of the river evidently leads to its base. 
And so nearly is it in the exact centre of the picture, 
that one diagonal from corner to corner passes through it, 
and the other only misses the base by the twentieth of 
an inch. 

If you are accustomed to France, you will know in a 
moment by its outline that this massive building is an old 

Without it, the repose would not have been essentially 
the laborer's rest — rest as of the Sabbath. Among all the 
groups of lines that point to it, two are principal: the 
first, those of the vine trellis : the second, those of the 
handles of the saw left in the beam : — the blessing of 
human life, and its labor. 

Whenever Turner wishes to express profound repose, 
he puts in the foreground some instrument of labor cast 
aside. See, in Rogers's Poems, the last vignette, " Datur 
bora quieti," with the plough in the furrow ; and in the 
first vignette of the same book, the scythe on the shoulder 
of the peasant going home. (There is nothing about the 
scythe in the passage of the poem which this vignette 

§ 6. Observe, farther, the outline of the church itself. 
As our habitations are, so is our church, evidently a 

6 . The Millstream. 



heap of old, but massive, walls, patched, and repaired, and 
roofed in, and over and over, until its original shape is hard- 
ly recognizable. I know the kind of church well — can tell 
even here, two miles off, that I shall find some Norman 
arches in the apse, and a flamboyant porch, rich and dark, 
with every statue broken out of it ; and a rude wooden 
belfry above all ; and a quantity of miserable shops built 
in among the buttresses ; and that I may walk in and out 
as much as I please, but that how often soever, I shall al- 
ways find some one praying at the Holy Sepulchre, in the 
darkest aisle, and mv o>oino; in and out will not disturb 
them. For they are praying, which in many a hand- 
somer and highlier-furbished edifice might, perhaps, not 
be so assuredly the case. 

§ 7. Lastly : \Vhat kind of people have we on this 
winding road ? Three indolent ones, leaning on the wall 
to look over into the gliding water ; and a matron with 
her market panniers, by her figure, not a fast rider. The 
road, besides, is bad, and seems unsafe for trotting, and 
she has passed, without disturbing the cat, who sits com- 
fortably on the block of wood in the middle of it. 

| 3. Next to this piece of quietness, let us glance at a 
composition in which the motive is one of tumult : that of 
the Fall of Schaffhausen. It is engraved in the Keep- 
sake. I have etched in Plate 6, at the top, the chief 
lines of its composition,* in which the first great purpose 
is to give swing enough to the water. The line of fall is 

* These etchings of compositions are all reversed, for they are merely 
sketches on the steel, and I cannot sketch easily except straight from 
the drawing-, and without reversing-. The looking-glass plagues me 
with cross lights. As examples of composition, it does not the least 
matter which way they are turned ; and the reader may see this Schaff- 
hausen subject from the right side of the Rhine, by holding the book 
before a glass. The rude indications of the figures in the Loire subject 
are nearly facsimiles of Turner's. 



straight and monotonous in reality. Turner wants to get 
the great concave sweep and rush of the river well felt, in 
spite of the unbroken form. The column of spray, rocks, 
mills, and bank, all radiate like a plume, sweeping round 
together in grand curves to the left, where the group of 
figures, hurried about the ferry-boat, rises like-a-dash of 
spray ; they also radiating : so as to form one perfectly 
connected cluster, with the two gens-d'armes and the mill- 
stones ; the millstones at the bottom being the root of it ; 
the two soldiers laid right and left to sustain the branch 
of figures beyond, balanced just as a tree bough would be. 

§ 9. One of the gens-d'armes is flirting with a young 
lady in a round cap and full sleeves, under pretence of 
wanting her to show him what she has in her bandbox. 
The motive of which flirtation is, so far as Turner is con- 
cerned in it, primarily the bandbox : this and the mill- 
stones below, give him a series of concave lines, which, 
concentrated by the recumbent soldiers, intensify the hol- 
low sweep of the fall, precisely as the ring on the stone 
does the Loire eddies. These curves are carried out on 
the right by the small plate of eggs, laid to be washed at 
the spring ; and, all these concave lines being a little too 
quiet and recumbent, the staggering casks are set ~ on the 
left, and the ill-balanced milk-pail on the right, to give 
a general feeling of things being rolled over and over. 
The things which are to give this sense of rolling are 
dark, in order to hint at the way in which the cataract 
rolls boulders of rock ; while the forms which are to give 
the sense of its sweeping force are white. The little 
spring, splashing out of its pine-trough, is to give contrast 
with the power of the fall, — while it carries out the gene- 
ral sense of splashing water. 

§ 10. This spring exists on the spot, and so does every- 
thing else in the picture ; but the combinations are wholly 
arbitrary ; it being Turner's fixed principle to collect out 



of any scene, whatever was characteristic, and put it to- 
gether just as he liked. The changes made in this in- 
stance are highly curious. The mills have no resemblance 
whatever to the real group as seen from this spot ; for 
there is a vulgar and formal dwelling-house in front of 
them. But if you climb the rock behind them, you find 
they form on that side a towering cluster, which Turner 
has put with little modification into the drawing. TThat 
he has done to the mills, he has done with still greater 
audacity to the central rock. Seen from this spot, it 
shows, in reality, its greatest breadth, and is heavy and 
uninteresting ; but on the Lauffen side, exposes its con- 
sumed base, worn away by the rush of water, which Tur- 
ner resolving to show, serenely draws the rock as it ap- 
pears from the other side of the Rhine, and brings that 
view of it over to this side. I have etched the bit with 
the rock a little larger below ; and if the reader knows 
the spot, he will see that this piece of the drawing, re- 
versed in the etching, is almost a bona fide unreversed 
study of the fall from the Lauffen side.* 

Finally, the castle of Lauffen itself, being, when seen 
from this spot, too much foreshortened to show its extent, 
Turner walks a quarter of a mile lower clown the river, 
draws the castle accurately there, brings it back with him, 
and puts it in all its extent, where he chooses to have it, 
beyond the rocks. 

I tried to copy and engrave this piece of the drawing of 
its real size, merely to show the forms of the trees, drifted 
back by the breeze from the fall, and wet with its spray ; 
but in the endeavour to facsimile the touches, great part of 
their grace and ease has been lost ; still, Plate 7 may, if 

* With the exception of the jagged ledge rising out of the foam be- 
low, which comes from the north side, and is admirable in its expression 
of the position of the limestone-beds, wbich, rising from below the drift 
gravel of Constance, are the real cause of the fall of Schaffhausen. 



compared with the same piece in the Keepsake engraving, 
at least show that the original drawing has not yet been 
rendered with completeness. 

§11. These two examples may sufficiently serve to show 
the mode in which minor details, both in form and spirit, 
are used by Turner to aid his main motives ; of course I 
cannot, in the space of this volume, go on examining sub- 
jects at this length, even if I had time to etch them; but 
every design of Turner's would be equally instructive, 
examined in a similar manner. Thus far, however, we 
have only seen the help of the parts to the whole : we 
must give yet a little attention to the mode of combining 
the smallest details. 

I am always led away, in spite of myself, from my 
proper subject here, invention formal, or the merely 
pleasant placing of lines and masses, into the emotional 
results of such arrangement. The chief reason of this is 
that the emotional power can be explained ; but the per- 
fection of formative arrangement, as I said, cannot be ex- 
plained, any more than that of melody in music. An 
instance or two of it, however, may be given. 

The Form and Group. 

(See Chapter on Grouping.) 

§ 12. Much fine formative arrangement depends on a 
more or less elliptical or pear-shaped balance of the 
group, obtained by arranging the principal members of it 
on two opposite curves, and either centralizing it by some 
powerful feature at the base, centre, or summit ; or else 
clasping it together by some conspicuous point or knot. A 
very small object will often do this satisfactorily. 

If you can get the complete series of Lefebre's engrav- 
ings from Titian and Veronese, they will be quite enough 
to teach you, in their dumb way, everything that is teach- 
able of composition ; at all events, try to get the Madonna, 



with St. Peter and St. George under the two great pillars; 
the Madonna and Child, with mitred bishop on her left, 
and St. Andrew on her right ; and Veronese's Triumph of 
Venice. The first of these Plates unites two formative 
symmetries ; that of the two pillars, clasped by the square 
altar-cloth below and cloud above, catches the eye first ; 
but the main group is the fivefold one rising to the left, 
crowned by the Madonna. St. Francis and St. Peter form 
its two wings, and the kneeling portrait figures, its base. 
It is clasped at the bottom by the key of St. Peter, which 
points straight at the Madonna's head, and is laid on the 
steps solely for this purpose ; the curved lines, which en- 
close the group, meet also in her face ; and the straight 
line of light, on the cloak of the nearest senator, points at 
her also. If you have Turner's Liber Studiorum, turn to 
the Lauffenburg, and compare the figure group there : a 
fivefold chain, one standing figure, central ; two recum- 
bent, for wings; two half -recumbent, for bases; and a 
cluster of weeds to clasp. Then turn to Lefebre's Europa 
(there are two in the series — I mean the one with the two 
tree trunks over her head)! It is a wonderful ninefold 
group. Europa central ; two stooping figures, each sur- 
mounted by a standing one, for wings; a cupid on one side, 
and dog on the other, for bases; a cupid and trunk of tree, 
on each side, to terminate above ; and a garland for clasp. 

§ 13. Fig. 4, page 238, will serve to show the mode in 
which similar arrangements are carried into the smallest 
detail. It is magnified four times from a cluster of leaves 
in the foreground of the " Isis " (Liber Studiorum). Figs. 
5 and 6, page 230, show the arrangement of the two 
groups composing it ; the lower is purely symmetrical, 
with tref oiled centre and broad masses for wincrs : the 
uppermost is a sweeping continuous curve, symmetrical, 
but foreshortened. Both are clasped by arrow-shaped 
leaves. The two whole groups themselves are. in turn, 



members of another larger group, composing the entire 
foreground, and consisting of broad dock-leaves, with minor 
clusters on the right and left, of which these form the chief 
portion on the right side. 

Fig. 4. 

§ 14c. Unless every leaf, and every visible point or 
object, however small, forms a part of some harmony of 
this kind (these symmetrical conditions being only the most 


simple and obvious), it has no business in the picture. It is 
the necessary connection of all the forms and colors, down 

Fig. 6. 

to the last touch, which constitutes great or inventive work, 
separated from all common work by a.n impassable gulf. 



By diligently copying the etchings of the Liber Studi- 
orum, the reader may, however, easily attain the percep- 
tion of the existence of these relations, and be prepared to 
understand Turner's more elaborate composition. It 
would take many figures to disentangle and explain the 
arrangements merely of the leaf cluster, Fig. 78, facing 
page 104; but that there is a system, and that every leaf 
has a fixed value and place in it, can hardly but be felt at 
a glance. 

It is curious that, in spite of all the constant talking of 
" composition " which goes on among art students, true 
composition is just the last thing which appears to be per- 
ceived. One would have thought that in this group, at 
least the value of the central black leaf would have been 
seen, of which the principal function is to point towards, 
and continue, the line of bank above. See Plate 62. But 
a glance at the published Plate in the England series will 
show that no idea of the composition had occurred to the 
engraver's mind. He thought any leaves would do, and 
supplied them from his own repertory of hack vegetation. 

§ 15. I would willingly enlarge farther on this subject 
■ — it is a favorite one with me ; but the figures recpiired 
for any exhaustive treatment of it would form a separate 
volume. All that I can do is to indicate, as these ex- 
amples do sufficiently, the vast field open to the student's 
analysis if he cares to pursue the subject; and to mark for 
the general reader these two strong conclusions: — that 
nothing in great work is ever either fortuitous or conten- 

It is not fortuitous ; that is to say, not left to fortune. 
The " must do it by a kind of felicity " of Bacon is true ; 
it is true also that an accident is often suggestive to an 
inventor. Turner himself said, " I never lose an accident." 
But it is this not losing it, this taking things out of the 
hands of Fortune, and putting them into those of force 



and foresight, which attest the master. Chance may 
sometimes help, and sometimes provoke, a success ; but 
must never rule, and rarely allure. 

And, lastly, nothing must be contentions. Art has many 
uses and many pleasantnesses ; but of all its services, none 
are hio;her than its setting forth, bv a visible and enduring 
image, the nature of all true authority and freedom ; — 
Authority which defines and directs the action of benevo- 
lent law ; and Freedom which consists in deep and soft 
consent of individual* helpfulness. 5 M. P., 175. 

* "Individual," that is to say, distinct and separate in character, 
though joined in purpose. I might have enlarged on this head, but that 
all I should care to say has been already said admirably by Mr. J. S. 
Mill in his Essay on Liberty. 




1 assume that you are now enabled to draw with fair 
success, either rounded and simple masses, like stones, or 
complicated arrangements of form, like those of leaves ; 
provided only these masses or complexities will stay quiet 
for you to copy, and do not extend into quantity so great 
as to baffle your patience. But if we are, now to go out to 
the fields, and to draw anything like a complete landscape, 
neither of these conditions will any more be observed for 
us. The clouds will not wait while we copy their heaps or 
clefts ; the shadows will escape from us as we try to shape 
them, each, in its stealthy minute march, still leaving light 
where its tremulous edge had rested the moment before, 
and involving in eclipse objects that had seemed safe from 
its influence ; and instead of the small clusters of leaves 
which we could reckon point by point, embarrassing 
enough even though numerable, we have now leaves as 
little to be counted as the sands of the sea, and restless, 
perhaps, as its foam. 

In all that we have to do now, therefore, direct imita- 
tion becomes more or less impossible. It is always to be 
aimed at so far as it is possible ; and when you have time 
and opportunity, some portions of a landscape may, as 
you gain greater skill, be rendered with an approximation 
almost to mirrored portraiture. Still, whatever skill you 
may reach, there will always be need of judgment to choose, 
and of speed to seize, certain things that are principal or 
fugitive ; and you must give more and more effort daily 



to the observance of characteristic points, and the attain- 
ment of concise methods. 

1. I have directed your attention early to foliage for two 
reasons. First, that it is always accessible as a study ; 
and secondly, that its modes of growth present simple ex- 
amples of the importance of leading or governing lines. It 
is by seizing these leading lines, when we cannot seize all, 
that likeness and expression are given to a portrait, and grace 
and a kind of vital truth to the rendering of every natural 
form. I call it vital truth, because these chief lines are 
always expressive of the past history and present action of 
the thing. They show in a mountain, first, how it was 
built or heaped up ; and secondly, how it is now being 
worn away, and from what quarter the wildest storms strike 
it. In a tree they show what kind of fortune it has had 
to endure from its childhood ; how troublesome trees have 
come in its way, and pushed it aside, and tried to strangle 
or starve it ; where and when kind trees have sheltered 
it ; and grown up lovingly together with it, bending as it 
bent ; what winds torment it most ; what boughs of it be- 
have best, and bear most fruit ; and so on. In a wave or 
cloud, these leading lines show the run of the tide and of 
the wind, and the sort of change which the water or va- 
pour is at any moment enduring in its form, as it meets 
shore, or counterwave, or melting sunshine. ISTow remem- 
ber, nothing distinguishes great men from inferior men 
more than their always, whether in life or in art, know- 
ing the way things are going. Your dunce thinks they 
are standing still, and draws them all fixed ; your wise 
man sees the change or changing in them, and draws 
them so — the animal in its motion, the tree in its growth, 
the cloud in its course, the mountain in its wearing away. 
Try always whenever you look at a form, to see the lines 
in it which have had power over its past fate, and will 
have power over its futurity. Those are its awful lines ; 



see that you seize on those, whatever else you miss. Thus, 
the leafage in Fig. 16. (p. 89.) grew round the root of a 
stone pine, on the- brow of a crag at Sestri, near Genoa, 
and all the sprays of it are thrust away in their first bud- 
ding by the great rude root, and spring out in every di- 
rection round it, as water splashes when a heavy stone is 
thrown into it. Then, when they have got clear of the 
root, they begin to bend up again ; some of them, being 
little stone pines themselves, have a great notion of grow- 
ing upright, if they can ; and this struggle of theirs to re- 
cover their straight road towards the sky, after being 
obliged to grow sideways in their early years, is the effort 
that will mainly influence their future destiny, and deter- 
mine if they are to be crabbed, forky pines, striking from 
that rock of Sestri, whose clefts nourish them, with bared 
red lightning of angry arms towards the sea ; or if they 
are to be goodly and solemn pines, with trunks like pillars 
of temples, and the purple burning of their branches 
sheathed in deep globes of cloudy green. Those, then, 
are their fateful lines ; see that you give that spring and 
resilience, whatever you leave ungiven: depend upon it, 
their chief beauty is in these. 

2. So in trees in general and bushes, large or small, you 
will notice that, though the boughs spring irregularly and 
at various angles, there is a tendency in all to stoop less 
and less as they near the top of the tree. This structure, 
typified in the simplest possible terms at c, Fig. 7., is 
common to all trees that I know of, and it gives them 
a certain plumy character, and aspect of unity in the 
hearts of their branches, which are essential to their 
beauty. The stem does not merely send off a wild branch 
here and there to take its own way, but all the branches 
share in one great fountain-like impulse; each has a curve 
and a path to take which fills a definite place, and each 
terminates all its minor branches at its outer extremity, 



so as to form a great outer curve, whose character and 
proportion are peculiar for each species ; that is to say, 
the general type or idea of a tree is not as Fig. 7., but 

ah c 

Fig. 7. 

as h, in which, observe, the boughs all carry their minor 
divisions right out to the bounding curve ; not bat that 
smaller branches, by thousands, terminate in the heart of 
the tree, but the idea and main purpose in every branch 
are to carry all its child branches well out to the air and 
light, and let each of them, however small, take its part in 
filling the united flow of the bounding curve, so that the 
type of each separate bough is again not a, but Fig. 8. ; 

Fig. 8. 

approximating, that is to say, so far to the structure of a 
plant of broccoli as to throw the great mass of spray and 
leafage out to a rounded surface ; therefore, beware of 
getting into a careless habit of drawing boughs with suc- 
cessive sweeps of the pen or brush, one hanging to the 
other, as in Fig. 9. If you look at the tree-boughs in 
any painting of Wilson's, you will see this structure, and 
nearly every other that is to be avoided, in their intensest 


types. You will also notice that Wilson never conceives 
a tree as a round mass, but flat, as if it had been pressed 
and dried. Most people, in drawing pines, seem to fancy, 
in the same way, that the boughs come out only on two 

Fig. 9. 

sides of the trunk, instead of all round it ; always, there- 
fore, take more pains in trying to draw the boughs of 
trees that grow towards you, than those that go off to 
the sides; anybody can draw the latter, but the fore- 
shortened ones are not so easy. It will help you in draw- 
ing them to observe that in most trees the ramification of 
each branch, though not of the tree itself, is more or less 
flattened, and approximates, in its position, to the look of 
a hand held out to receive something, or shelter some- 
thing. If vou take a looking-glass, and hold vour hand 
before it slightly hollowed, with the palm upwards, and 
the fingers open, as if you were going to support the base 
of some great bowl, larger than you could easily hold, and 
sketch your hand as you see it in the glass, with the 
points of the fingers towards you, it will materially help 
you in understanding the way trees generally hold out 
their hands ; and if then you will turn yours with its 
palm downwards, as if you were going to try to hide 
something, but with the fingers expanded, you will get a 
good type of the action of the lower boughs in cedars and 
such other spreading trees. 

Fig. 10. will give you a good idea of the simplest way 
in which these and other such facts can be rapidly ex- 
pressed ; if you copy it carefully, you will be surprised to 



Fig. 10. 



find how the touches all group together, in expressing the 
plumy toss of the tree branches, and the springing of the 
bushes out of the bank, and the undulation of the ground : 
note the careful drawing of the footsteps made by the 
climbers of the little mound on the left.* It is facsimiled 
from an etching of Turner's, and is as good an example as 
you can have of the use of pure and firm lines; it will 
also show you how the particular action in foliage, or any- 
thing else to which you wish to direct attention, may be 
intensified by the adjuncts. The tall and upright trees 
are made to look more tall and upright still, because their 
line is continued below by the figure of the farmer with 
his stick ; and the rounded bushes on the bank are made 
to look more rounded, because their line is continued in 
one broad sweep by the black dog and the boy climbing 
the wall. These figures are placed entirely with this ob- 
ject, as we shall see more fully hereafter when we come 
to talk about composition ; but, if you please, we will not 
talk about that yet awhile. What I have been telling you 
about the beautiful lines and action of foliage has nothing 
to do with composition, but only with fact, and the brief 
and expressive representation of fact. But there will be 
no harm in your looking forward, if you like to do so, to the 
account, in Letter III. of the " Law of Radiation," and 
reading what is said there about tree growth : indeed it 
would in some respects have been better to have said it 
here than there, only it would have broken up the account 
of the principles of composition somewhat awkwardly. 

3. ow, although the lines indicative of action are not 
always quite so manifest in other things as in trees, a little 
attention will soon enable you to see that there are such 
lines in everything. In an old house roof, a bad observer 
and bad draughtsman will only see and draw the spotty 

* It is meant, I believe, for "Salt Hill." 



irregularity of tiles or slates all over; but a good draughts- 
man will see all the bends of the under timbers, where 
they are weakest and the weight is telling on them most, 
and the tracks of the run of the water in time of rain, 
where it runs off fastest, and where it lies long and feeds 
the moss ; and he will be careful, however few slates he 
draws, to mark the way they bend together towards those 
hollows (which have the future fate of the roof in them), 
and crowd gradually together at the top of the gable, 
partly diminishing in perspective, partly, perhaps, dimin- 
ished on purpose (they are so in most English old houses) 
by the slate-layer. So in ground, there is always the di- 
rection of the run of the water to be noticed, which rounds 
the earth and cuts it into hollows ; and, generally, in any 
bank, or height worth drawing, a trace of bedded or other 
internal structure besides. The figure 10. will give you 
some idea of the way in which such facts may be expressed 
by a few lines. Do you not feel the depression in the 
ground all down the hill where the footsteps are, and how 
the people always turn to the left at the top, losing breath 
a little, and then how the water runs down in that other 
hollow towards the valley, behind the roots of the 
trees ? 

Xow, I want you in your first sketches from nature to 
aim exclusively at understanding and representing these 
vital facts of form ; using the pen — not now the steel, but 
the quill — firmly and steadily, never scrawling with it, but 
saying to yourself before you lay on a single touch, — 
" That leaf is the main one, that bough is the guiding one, 
and this touch, so long, so broad, means that part of it," — 
point or side or knot, as the case may be. Resolve always, 
as you look at the thing, what you will take, and what 
miss of it, and never let your hand run away with you, or 
get into any habit or method of touch. If you want a 
continuous line, your hand should pass calmly from one 



end of it to the other, without a tremor ; if you want a 
shaking and broken line, your hand should shake, or break 
off, as easily as a musician's finger shakes or stops on a 
note : only remember this, that there is no general way of 
doing any thing ; no recipe can be given you for so much 
as the drawing of a cluster of grass. The grass may be 
ragged and stiff, or tender and flowing ; sunburnt and 
sheep-bitten, or rank and languid ; fresh or dry ; lustrous 
or dull : look at it, and try to draw it as it is, and don't 
think how somebody " told you to do grass." So a stone 
may be round or angular, polished or rough, cracked all 
over like an ill-glazed teacup, or as united and broad as 
the breast of Hercules. It may be as flaky as a wafer, as 
powdery as a field puff-ball; it may be knotted like a 
ship's hawser, or kneaded like hammered iron, or knit like 
a Damascus sabre, or fused like a glass bottle, or crystal- 
lised like hoar-frost, or veined like a forest leaf : look at it, 
and don't try to remember how anybody told you to " do 
a stone." 

4. As soon as you find that your hand obeys you thorough- 
ly, and that you can render any form with a firmness and 
truth approaching that of Turner's or Durer's work,* you 
must add a simple but equally careful light and shade to 
your pen drawing, so as to make each study as complete 
as possible: for which you must prepare yourself thus. 
Get, if you have the means, a good impression of one plate 
of Turner's Liber Studiorum ; if possible, one of the 
subjects named in the note below, f If you cannot obtain, 

* I do not mean that you can approach Turner or Durer in their 
strength, that is to say, in their imagination or power of design. But 
you may approach them, by perseverance, in truth of manner, 
f The following are the most desirable plates : 
Grande Chartreuse. Pembury Mill. 

.ZEsacus and Hesperie. Little Devil's Bridge. 

Cephalus and Procris. River Wye {not Wye and Severn). 



or even borrow for a little while, any of these engravings, 
you must use a photograph instead (how, I will tell you 
presently) ; but, if you can get the Turner, it will be best. 
You will see that it is composed of a firm etching in line, 
with mezzotint shadow laid over it. You must first copy 
the etched part of it accurately ; to which end put the 
print against the window, and trace slowly with the greatest 
care every black line ; retrace this on smooth drawing-paper ; 
and, finally, go over the whole with your pen, looking at 
the original plate always, so that if you err at all, it may 
be on the right side, not making a line which is too curved 
or too straight already in the tracing, more curved or more 
straight, as you go over it. And in doing this, never work 
after you are* tired, nor to " get the thing done," for if it 

Source of Arveron. Holy Island. 

Ben Arthur. Clyde. 

Watermill. Lauffenbourg. 

Hindhead Hill. Blair Athol. 

Hedging and Ditching. Alps from G-renoble. 

Dumblane Abbey. Raglan. (Subject with quiet brook, 

Morpeth. trees, and castle on the right. ) 

Calais Pier. 

If you cannot get one of these, any of the others will be serviceable, 
except only the twelve following, which are quite useless : 

1. Scene in Italy, with goats on a walled road, and trees above. 

2. Interior of church. 

3. Scene with bridge, and trees above ; figures on left, one playing 
a pipe . 

4. Scene with figure playing on tambourine. 

5. Scene on Thames with high trees, and a square tower of a church 
seen through them. 

6. Fifth Plague of Egypt. 

7. Tenth Plague of Egypt. 

8. Rivaulx Abbey. 

9. Wye and Severn. 

10. Scene with castle in centre, cows under trees on the left. 

11. Martello Towers. 

12. Calm. 

It is very unlikely that you should meet with one of the original 



is badly done, it will be of no use to you. The true zeal 

and patience of a quarter of an hour are better than the 
sulky and inattentive labour . of a whole day. If you have 
not made the touches right at the first going over with the 
pen, retouch them delicately, with little ink in your pen, 
thickening or reinforcing them as they need : you cannot 
give too much care to the facsimile. Then keep this 
etched outline by you, in order to study at your ease the 
way in which Turner uses his line as preparatory for the 
subsequent shadow ; * it is only in getting the two separate 
that you will be able to reason on this. Next, copy once 
more, though for the fourth time, any part of this etching 
which you like, and put on the light and shade with the 
brush, and any brown colour that matches* that of the 

etching's ; if you should, it will be a drawing-master in itself alone, for 
it is not only equivalent to a pen-and-ink drawing by Turner, but to a 
very careful one : only observe, the Source of Arveron, Raglan, and 
Durnblane were not etched by Turner ; and the etchings of those three 
are not good for separate study, though it is deeply interesting to see 
how Turner, apparently provoked at the failure of the beginnings in 
the Arveron and Raglan, took the plates up himself, and either con- 
quered or brought into use the bad etching by his marvellous engraving. 
The Durnblane was, however, well etched by Mr. Lupton, and beauti- 
fully engraved by him. The finest Turner etching is of an aqueduct 
with a stork standing in a mountain stream, not in the published series ; 
and next to it, are the unpublished etchings of .the Via Mala and 
Crowhurst. Turner seems to have been so fond of these plates that he 
kept retouching and finishing them, and never made up his mind to let 
them go. The Via Mala is certainly, in the state in which Turner left 
it, the finest of the whole series: its etching is, as I said, the best after 
that of the aqueduct. Figure 10., above, is part of another fine un- 
published etching, "Windsor, from Salt Hill." .Of the published 
etchings, the finest are the Ben Arthur, iEsacus, Cephalus, and Stone 
Pines, with the Girl washing at a Cistern ; the three latter are the more 
generally instructive. Hindhead Hill, Isis, Jason, and Morpeth, are also 
very desirable. 

* You will find more notice of this point in the account of Harding's 
tree-drawing, a little farther on. 



plate;* working it with the point of the brush as deli- 
cately as if you were drawing with pencil, and dotting and 
cross-hatching as lightly as you can touch the paper, till 
you get the gradations of Turner's engraving. In this 
exercise, as in the former one, a quarter of an inch worked 
to close resemblance of the copy is worth more than the 
whole subject carelessly done. Xot that in drawing after- 
wards from nature, you are to be obliged to finish every 
gradation in this way, but that, once having fully accom- 
plished the drawing something rightly, you will thence- 
forward feel and aim at a higher perfection than you 
could otherwise have conceived, and the brush will obey 
you, and bring out quickly and clearly the loveliest results, 
with a submissiveness which it would have wholly refused 
if you had not put it to severest work, xsothing is more 
strange in art than the way that chance and materials seem 
to favour you, when once you have thoroughly conquered 
them. Make yourself quite independent of chance, get 
your result in spite of it, and from that day forward all 
things will somehow fall as you would have them. Show 
the camel's-hair, and the colour in it, that no bending nor 
blotting are of any use to escape your will ; that the touch 
and the shade shall finally be right, if it cost you a year's 
toil; and from that hour of corrective conviction, said 
camel's-hair will bend itself to all your wishes, and no blot 
will dare to transgress its appointed border. If you cannot 
obtain a print from the Liber Studiorum, get a photographf 
of some general landscape subject, with high hills and a 
village, or picturesque town, in the middle distance, and 
some calm water of varied character (a stream with stones 
in it, if possible), and copy any part of it you like, in this 

* The impressions vary so much in colour that no brown can be 

f You had better get such a photograph, even though you have a 
Liber print as well. 



same brown colour, working, as I have just directed you 
to do from the Liber, a great deal with the point of the 
brush. You are under a twofold disadvantage here, how- 
ever ; first, there are portions in every photograph too deli- 
cately done for you at present to be at all able to copy ; 
and secondly, there are portions always more obscure or 
dark than there would be in the real scene, and involved 
in a mystery which you will not be able, as yet, to decipher. 
Both these characters will be advantageous to you for 
future study, after you have gained experience, but they 
are a little against you in early attempts at tinting ; still, 
you must fight through the difficulty, and get the power of 
producing delicate gradations with brown or grey, like 
those of the photograph. 

5. Now observe ; the perfection of work would be tinted 
shadow, like photography, without any obscurity or exag- 
gerated darkness ; and as long as your effect depends in 
anywise on visible lines, your art is not perfect, though 
it may be first-rate of its kind. But to get complete re- 
sults in tints merely, requires both long time and consum- 
mate skill; and you will find that a few well-put pen 
lines, with a tint dashed over or under them, get more ex- 
pression of facts than you could reach in any other way, 
by the same expenditure of time. The use of the Liber 
Studiorum print to you is chiefly as an example of the 
simplest shorthand of this kind, a shorthand which is yet 
capable of dealing with the most subtle natural effects ; 
for the firm etching gets at the expression of complicated 
details as leaves, masonry, textures of ground, &c, while 
the overlaid tint enables you to express the most tender 
distances of sky, and forms of playing light, mist or 
cloud. Most of the best drawings by the old masters are 
executed on this principle, the touches of the pen being 
useful, also to give a look of transparency to shadows, which 
could not otherwise be attained but by great finish of 



tinting; and if you have access to any ordinarily good 
public gallery, or can make friends of any printsellers 
who have folios either of old drawings, or facsimiles of 
them, you will not be at a loss to find some example of 
this unity of pen with tinting. Multitudes of photo- 
graphs also are now taken from the best drawings by the 
old masters, and I hope that our Mechanics' Institutes, 
and other societies organized with a view to public in- 
struction, will not fail to possess themselves of examples 
of these, and to make them accessible to students of 
drawing in the vicinity ; a single print from Turner's 
Liber, to show the unison of tint with pen etching, and 
the " St. Catherine," lately photographed by Thurston 
Thompson, from Raphael's drawing in the Louvre, to 
show the unity of the soft tinting of the stump with 
chalk, would be all that is necessary, and would, I believe, 
be in many cases more serviceable than a larger collection, 
and certainly than a whole gallery of second-rate prints. 
Two such examples are peculiarly desirable, because all 
other modes of drawing, with pen separately, or chalk 
separately, or colour separately, may be seen by the poor- 
est student in any cheap illustrated book, or in shop win- 
dows. But this unity of tinting with line he cannot gen- 
erally see but by some especial enquiry, and in some out 
of the way places he could not find a single example of 
it. Supposing that this should be so in your own case, 
and that you cannot meet with any example of this kind, 
try to make the matter out alone, thus : 

Take a small and simple photograph ; allow yourself 
half an hour to express its subjects with the pen only, 
using some permanent liquid colour instead of ink, out- 
lining its buildings or trees firmly, and laying in the 
deeper shadows, as you have been accustomed to do in 
your bolder pen drawings; then, when this etching is dry, 
take your sepia or grey, and tint it over, getting now the 



finer gradations of the photograph ; and finally, taking 
out the higher lights with penknife or blotting-paper. 
You will soon find what can be done in this way; and 
by a series of experiments you may ascertain for yourself 
how far the pen may be made serviceable to reinforce 
shadows, mark characters of texture, outline unintelligible 
masses, and so on. The more time you have, the more 
delicate you may make the pen drawing, blending it with 
the tint; the less you have, the more distinct you must 
keep the two. Practise in this way from one photograph, 
allowing yourself sometimes only a quarter of an hour 
for the whole thing, sometimes an hour, sometimes two or 
three hours ; in each case drawing the whole subject in 
full depth of light and shade, but with such degree of 
finish in the parts as is possible in the given time. And 
this exercise, observe, you will do well to repeat fre- 
quently, whether you can get prints and drawings as well 
as photographs, or not. 

6. And now at last, when you can copy a piece of Liber 
Studiorum, or its photographic substitute, faithfully, you 
have the complete means in your power of working from 
nature on all subjects that interest you, which you should 
do in four different ways. 

First. When you have full time, and your subject is 
one that will stay quiet for you, make perfect light and 
shade studies, or as nearly perfect as you can, with grey 
or brown colour of any kind, reinforced and defined with 
the pen. 

Secondly. When your time is short, or the subject is so 
rich in detail that you feel you cannot complete it intelli- 
gibly in light and shade , make a hasty study of the effect, 
and give the rest of the time to a Dureresque expression 
of the details. If the subject seems to } 7 ou interesting, 
and there are points about it which you cannot under- 
stand, try to get five spare minutes to go close up to it, 



and make a nearer memorandum ; not that you are ever 
to bring the details of this nearer sketch into the farther 
one, but that you may thus perfect your experience of the 
aspect of things, and know that such and such a look of 
a tower or cottage at five hundred yards off means that 
sort of tower or cottage near; while, also, this nearer 
sketch will be useful to prevent any future misinterpreta- 
tion of your own work. If you have time, however far 
your light and shade study in the distance may have been 
carried, it is always well, for these reasons, to make also 
your Dureresque and your near memoranda ; for if your 
light and shade drawing be good, much of the interesting 
detail must be lost in it, or disguised. 

Your hasty study of effect may be made most easily 
and quickly with a soft pencil, dashed over when done 
with one tolerably deep tone of grey, which will fix the 
penciL While this fixing colour is wet, take out the 
higher lights with the dry brush ; and, when it is quite 
dry, scratch out the highest lights with the penknife. 
Five minutes, carefully applied, will do much by these 
means. Of course the paper is to be white. I do not 
like studies on grey paper so well ; for you can get more 
gradation by the taking off your wet tint, and laying it 
on cunningly a little darker here and there, than you can 
with body-colour white, unless you are consummately 
skilful. There is no objection to your making your Du- 
reresque memoranda on grey or yellow paper, and touch- 
ing or relieving them with white ; only, do not depend 
much on your white touches, nor make the sketch for 
their sake. 

Thirdly. Wlien you have neither time for careful 
study nor for Dureresque detail, sketch the outline with 
pencil, then dash in the shadows with the brush boldly, 
trying to do ;ls much as you possibly can at once, and to 
get a habit of expedition and decision ; laying more 



colour again and again into the tints as they dry, using 
every expedient which your practice has suggested to you 
of carrying out your chiaroscuro in the manageable and 
moist material, taking the colour off here with the dry 
brush, scratching out lights in it there with the wooden 
handle of the brush, rubbing it in with your fingers, dry- 
ing it off with your sponge, &c. Then, when the colour 
is in, take your pen and mark the outline characters vig- 
orously, in the manner of the Liber Studiorum. This 
kind of study is very convenient for carrying away pieces 
of effect which depend not so much on refinement as on 
complexity, strange shapes of involved shadows, sudden 
effects of sky, &c. ; and it is most useful as a safeguard 
against any too servile or slow habits which the minute 
copying may induce in you ; for although the endeavour 
to obtain velocity merely for velocity's sake, and dash for 
display's sake, is as baneful as it is despicable ; there are 
a velocity and a dash which not only are compatible with 
perfect drawing, but obtain certain results which cannot 
be had otherwise. And it is perfectly safe for } t ou to 
study occasionally for speed and decision, while your con- 
tinual course of practice is such as to ensure your retain- 
ing an accurate judgment and a tender touch. Speed, 
under such circumstances, is rather fatiguing than tempt- 
ing; and you will find yourself always beguiled rather 
into elaboration than negligence. 

Fourthly. You will find it of great use, whatever kind 
of landscape scenery you are passing through, to get 
into the habit of making memoranda of the shapes of 
shadows. You will find that many objects of no essential 
interest in themselves, and neither deserving a finished 
study, nor a Dureresque one, may yet become of singular 
value in consequence of the fantastic shapes of their 
shadows ; for it happens often, in distant effect, that the 
shadow is by much a more important element than the 



substance. Thus, in the Alpine bridge, Fig. 11., seen 
within a few yards of it, as in the figure, the arrangement 

Fig. 11. 

of timbers to which the shadows are owing is perceptible ; 
but at half a mile's distance, in 
bright sunlight, the timbers would 
not be seen ; and a good painter's 
expression of the bridge would be 
merely the large spot, and the a 
crossed bars, of pure grey ; wholly 
without indication of their cause, 
as in Fig. 12. a / and if we saw it 
at still greater distances, it would 
appear, as in Fig. 12. b and c, di- i 
minishing at last to a strange, unin- 
telligible, spider-like spot of grey 
on the light hill-side. A perfectly 
great painter, throughout his dis- 
tances, continually reduces his ob- 
jects to these shadow abstracts ; c 
and the singular, and to many 
persons unaccountable, effect of 
the confused touches in Turner's distances, is owing chiefly 


Fig. 12. 



to this thorough, accuracy and intense meaning of the sha- 
dow abstracts. 

Studies of this kind are easily made when you are in 
haste, with an F. or HB. pencil : it requires some hard- 
ness of the point to ensure your drawing delicately 
enough when the forms of the shadows are very subtle ; 
they are sure to be so somewhere, and are generally 
so everywhere. The pencil is indeed a very precious 
instrument after you are master of the pen and brush, 
for the pencil, cunningly used, is both, and will draw 
a line with the precision of the one and the gradation 
of the other ; nevertheless, it is so unsatisfactory to see 
the sharp touches, on which the best of the detail de- 
pends, getting gradually deadened by time, or to find 
the places where force was wanted look shiny, and 
like a fire-grate, that I should recommend rather the 
steady use of the pen, or brush, and colour, whenever 
time admits of it ; keeping only a small memorandum- 
book in the breast-pocket, with its well-cut, sheathed 
pencil, ready for notes on passing opportunities : but 
never being without this. 

7. Thus much, then, respecting the manner in which 
you are at first to draw from nature. But it may perhaps 
be serviceable to you, if I also note one or two points 
respecting your choice of subjects for study, and the best 
special methods of treating some of them ; for one of 
by no means the least difficulties which you have at first 
to encounter is a peculiar instinct, common as far as I 
have noticed, to all beginners, to fix on exactly the most 
unmanageable feature in the given scene. There are 
many things in every landscape which can be drawn, if 
at all, only by the most accomplished artists; and I have 
noticed that it is nearly always these which a beginner 
will dash at ; or, if not these, it will be something which, 
though pleasing to him in itself, is unfit for a picture, 



and in which, when he has drawn it, he will have little 
pleasure. As some slight protection against this evil 
genius of beginners, the following general warnings may 
be useful : 

1. Do not draw things that you love, on accoitnt of their 
associations / or at least do not draw them because you 
love them; but merely when you cannot get anything 
else to draw. If you try to draw places that you love, 
you are sure to be always entangled amongst neat brick 
walls, iron railings, gravel Avalks, greenhouses and cpiick- 
set hedges ; besides that you will be continually led into 
some endeavour to make your drawing pretty, or complete, 
which will be fatal to your progress. You need never 
hope to get on, if you are the least anxious that the draw- 
ing you are actually at work upon should look nice when 
it is done. All you have to care about is to make it right, 
and to learn as much in doing it as possible. So then, 
though when you are sitting in your friend's parlour or in 
your own, and have nothing else to do, you may draw 
anything that is there, for practice ; even the fire-irons or 
the pattern on the carpet : be sure that is for practice, 
and not because it is a beloved carpet, nor a friendly 
poker and tongs, nor because you wish to please your 
friend bv drawing her room. 

Also, never make presents of your drawings. Of 
course I am addressing you as a beginner— & time may 
come when your work will be precious to everybody ; but 
be resolute not to give it away till you know that it is 
worth something (as soon as it is worth anything you will 
know that it is so). If any one asks you for a present of 
a drawing, send them a couple of cakes of colour and a 
piece of Bristol board : those materials are, for the present, 
of more value in that form than if you had spread the one 
over the other. 

The main reason for this rule is, however, that its ob- 



servance will much protect you from the great danger of 
trying to make your drawings pretty. 

2. Never, by choice, draw anything polished ; especial- 
ly if complicated in form. Avoid all brass rods and 
curtain ornaments, chandeliers, plate, glass, and fine steel. 
A shining knob of a piece of furniture does not matter 
if it comes in your way ; but do not fret yourself if it 
will not look right, and choose only things that do not shine. 

3. Avoid all very neat things. They are exceedingly 
difficult to draw, and very ugly when drawn. Choose 
rough, worn, and clumsy -looking things as much as pos- 
sible; for instance, you cannot have a more difficult or 
profitless study than a newly-painted Thames wherry, nor 
a better study than an old empty coal-barge, lying ashore 
at low-tide : in general, everything that you think very 
ugly, will be good for you to draw. 

4. Avoid, as much as possible, studies in which one 
thing is seen through another. You will constantly find 
a thin tree standing before your chosen cottage, or be- 
tween you and the turn of the river ; its near branches 
all entangled with the distance. It is intensely difficult 
to represent this ; and though, when the tree is there, you 
must not imaginably cut it down, but do it as well as you 
can, yet always look for subjects that fall into definite 
masses, not into network ; that is, rather for a cottage 
with a dark tree beside it, than for one with a thin tree in 
front of it ; rather for a mass of wood, soft, blue, and 
rounded, than for a ragged copse, or confusion of intricate 

5. Avoid as far as possible, country divided by hedges. 
Perhaps nothing in the whole compass of landscape is so 
utterly unpicturesque and unmanageable as the ordinary 
English patchwork of field and hedge, with trees dotted 
over it in independent spots, gnawed straight at the cattle 



Still, do not be discouraged if you find you have chosen 
ill, and that the subject overmasters you. It is much bet- 
ter that it should, than that you should think you had 
entirely mastered it. But, at first, and even for some 
time, you must be prepared for very discomfortable fail- 
ure ; which, nevertheless, will not be without some whole- 
some result. 

As, however, I have told you what most definitely to 
avoid, I may, perhaps, help you a little by saying what to 
seek. In general, all hanks are beautiful things, and will 
reward work better than large landscapes. If you live in 
a lowland country, you must look for places w r here the 
ground is broken to the river s edges, with decayed posts, 
or roots of trees ; or, if by great good luck there should 
be such things within your reach, for remnants of stone 
quays or steps, mossy mill-dams, &c. Xearly every other 
mile of road in chalk country will present beautiful bits 
of broken bank at its sides ; better in form and colour 
than high chalk cliffs. In woods, one or two trunks, with 
the flowery ground below, are at once the richest and 
easiest kind of study : a not very thick trunk, say nine 
inches or a foot in diameter, with ivy running up it spar- 
ingly, is an easy, and always a rewarding subject. 

Large nests of buildings in the middle distance are 
always beautiful, when drawn carefully, provided they 
are not modern rows of pattern cottages, or villas with 
Ionic and Doric porticos. Any old English village, or 
cluster of farm-houses, drawn with all its ins and outs, 
and haystacks, and palings, is sure to be lovely ; much 
more a French one. French landscape is generally as 
much superior to English as Swiss landscape is to 
French ; in some respects, the French is incomparable. 
Such scenes as that avenue on the Seine, which I 
have recommended you to buy the engraving of, admit 
no rivalship in their expression of graceful rusticity 



and cheerful peace, and in the beauty of component 

In drawing villages, take great pains with the gar- 
dens ; a rustic garden is in every way beautiful. If you 
have time, draw all the rows of cabbages, and hollyhocks, 
and broken fences, and wandering eglantines, and bossy 
roses : you cannot have better practice, nor be kept by 
anything in purer thoughts. 

Make intimate friends of all the brooks in your neigh- 
bourhood, and study them ripple by ripple. 

Village churches in England are not often good sub- 
jects ; there is a peculiar meanness about most of them, 
and awkwardness of line. Old manor-houses are often 
pretty. Ruins are usually, with us, too prim, and cathe- 
drals too orderly. I do not think there is a single cathe- 
dral in England from which it is possible to obtain one 
subject for an impressive drawing. There is always some 
discordant civility, or jarring vergerism about them. 

If you live in a mountain or hill country, your only 
danger is redundance of subject. Be resolved, in the 
first place, to draw a piece of rounded rock, with its 
variegated lichens, quite rightly, getting its complete 
roundings, and all the patterns of the lichen in true local 
colour. Till you can do this, it is of no use your thinking 
of sketching among hills ; but when once you have done 
this, the forms of distant hills will be comparatively easy. 

When you have practised for a little time from such of 
these subjects as may be accessible to you, you will cer- 
tainly find difficulties arising which will make you wish 
more than ever for a master's help : these difficulties will 
vary according to the character of your own mind (one 
question occurring to one person, and one to another), so 
that it is impossible to anticipate them all ; and it would 
make this too large a book if I answered all that I can 
anticipate; you must be content to work on, in good hope 



that nature will, in her own time, interpret to you much 
for herself; that farther experience on your own part 
will make some difficulties disappear ; and that others 
will be removed by the occasional observation of such 
artists' work as may come in your way. Nevertheless, I 
will not close this subject without a few general remarks, 
such as may be useful to you after you are somewhat 
advanced in power ; and these remarks may, I think, be 
conveniently arranged under three heads, having reference 
to the drawing of vegetation, water, and skies. 

8. And, first, of vegetation. You may think, perhaps, 
we have said enough about trees already ; yet if you have 
done as you were bid, and tried to draw them frequently 
enough, and carefully enough, you will be ready by this 
time to hear a little more of them. You will also recol- 
lect that we left our question, respecting the mode of 
expressing intricacy of leafage, partly unsettled in the 
first letter. I left it so because I wanted you to learn 
the real structure of leaves, by drawing them for your- 
self, before I troubled you with the most subtle consider- 
ations as to method in drawing them. And by this time, 
I imagine, you must have found out two principal 
things, universal facts, about leaves j namely, that they 
always, in the main tendencies of their lines, indicate a 
beautiful divergence of growth, according to the law of 
radiation, already referred to ; * and the second, that this 
divergence is never formal, but carried out with endless 
variety of individual line. I must now press both these 
facts on your attention a little farther. 

You may perhaps have been surprised that I have not 
yet spoken of the works of J. D. Harding, especially if 
you happen to have met with the passages referring to 
them in Modem Painters, in which they are highly 

* See thp eloaing letter in this volume. 




praised. They are deservedly praised, for they are the 
only works by a modern draughtsman which express in 
any wise the energy of trees, and the laws of growth, of 
which we have been speaking. There are no lithographic 
sketches which, for truth of general character, obtained 
with little cost of time, at all rival Harding's. Calame, 
Robert, and the other lithographic landscape sketchers are 
altogether inferior in power, though sometimes a little 
deeper in meaning. Rut you must not take even Hard- 
ing for a model, though you may use his works for occa- 
sional reference ; and if you can afford to buy his Lessons 
on Trees," it will be serviceable to you in various ways, 
and will at present help me to explain the point under 
consideration. And it is well that I should illustrate this 
point by reference to Harding's works, because their great 
influence on young students renders it desirable that their 
real character should be thoroughly understood. 

You will find, first, in the title-page of the Lessons on 
Trees, a pretty woodcut, in which the tree stems are 
drawn with great truth, and in a very interesting arrange- 
ment of lines. Plate 1. is not quite worthy of Mr. Hard- 
ing, tending too much to make his pupil, at starting, think 
everything depends on black dots ; still the main lines 
are good, and very characteristic of tree growth. Then, 
in Plate 2., we come to the point at issue. The first 
examples in that plate are given to the pupil that he may 
practise from them till his hand gets into the habit of 
arranging lines freely in a similar manner ; and they are 
stated by Mr. Harding to be universal in application ; 
" all outlines expressive of foliage," he says, " are but 
modifications of them." They consist of groups of lines, 

* Bogue, Fleet Street. If you are not acquainted with Harding's 
works (an unlikely supposition, considering' their popularity), and can- 
not meet with the one in question, the diagrams given here will enable 
you to understand all that is needful for our purposes. 



more or less resembling our Fig. 13. ; and the characters 
especially insisted upon are, that they "tend at their 
inner ends to a common centre ; " that " their ends ter- 
minate in [are enclosed byj ovoid curves ; " and that 
" the outer ends are most emphatic." 

Now, as thus expressive of the 
great laws of radiation and en- ^\ 
closure, the main principle of this 

method of execution confirms, in ^/^^ ^ ft ^ 
a very interesting way, our con- ^ 
elusions respecting foliage compo- 
sition. The reason of the last rule, that the outer end of 
the line is to be most emphatic, does not indeed at first 
appear ; for the line at one end of a natural leaf is not 
more emphatic than the line at the other ; but ultimately, 
in Harding's method, this darker part of the touch stands 
more or less for the shade at the outer extremity of the 
leaf mass ; and, as Harding uses these touches, they 
express as much of tree character as any mere habit of 
touch can express. But, unfortunately, there is another 
law of tree growth, quite as fixed as the law of radiation, 
which this and all other conventional modes of execution 
wholly lose sight of. This second law is, that the radiat- 
ing tendency shall be carried out only as a ruling spirit 
in reconcilement with perpetual individual caprice on the 
part of the separate leaves. So that the moment a touch 
is monotonous, it must be also false, the liberty of the 
leaf individually being just as essential a truth, as its 
unity of growth with its companions in the radiating 

It does not matter how small or apparently symmetrical 
the cluster may be, nor how large or vague. You can 
hardly have a more formal one than h in Fig 9. p. 71., nor 
a less formal one than this shoot of Spanish chestnut, 
shedding its leaves, Fig. 14. ; but in either of them, even 



Fig. 14. 

the general reader, unpractised in any of the previously 

recommended exer- 
cises, must see that 
there are wandering 
lines mixed witli the 
radiating ones, and 
radiating lines with 
the wild ones : and 
if he takes the pen 
and tries to copy 
either of these ex- 
amples, he will find 
that neither play of 
hand to left nor to 
right, neither a free touch nor a firm touch, nor any 
learnable or describable touch whatsoever, will enable him 
to produce, currently, a resemblance of it ; but that he 
must either draw it slowly, or give it up. And (which 
makes the matter worse still) though gathering the bough, 
and putting it close to you, or seeing a piece of near foli- 
age against the sky, you may draw the entire outline of 
the leaves, yet if the spray has light upon it, and is ever 
so little a way off, you will miss, as we have seen, a point 
of a leaf here, and an edge there ; some of the surfaces will 
be confused by glitter, and some spotted with ; and 
if you look carefully through this confusion for the edges 
or dark steins which you really can see, and put only those 
down, the result will be neither like Fig. 9. nor Fig. 14., 
but such an interrupted and puzzling piece of work as 
Fig. 15 * 

Now, it is in the perfect acknowledgment and expres- 
sion of these three laws that all good drawing of landscape 

* I draw this figure (a young shoot of oak) in outline only, it being 
impossible to express the refinements of shade in distant foliage in a 



co?isists. There is, first, the organic unity ; the law, 
whether of radiation, or parallelism, or concurrent action, 

Fig. 15. 

which rales the masses of herbs and trees, of rocks, and 
clouds, and waves ; secondly \ the individual liberty of the 
members subjected to these laws of unity ; and, lastly, the 
mystery under which the separate character of each is 
more or less concealed. 

I say, first, there must be observance of the ruling- 
organic law. This is the first distinction between good 
artists and bad artists. Your common sketcher or bad 
painter puts his leaves on the trees as if they were moss 
tied to sticks ; he cannot see the lines of action or growth ; 
he scatters the shapeless clouds over his sky, not perceiv- 
ing the sweeps of associated curves which the real clouds 
are following as they fly ; and he breaks his mountain 
side into rugged fragments, wholly unconscious of the lines 
of force with which the real rocks have risen, or of the 
lines of couch in which they repose. On the contrary, 
it is the main delight of the great draughtsman to trace 
these laws of government ; and his tendency to error is 
always in the exaggeration of their authority rather than 
in its denial. 

Secondly, I say, we have to show the individual charac- 
ter and liberty of the separate leaves, clouds, or rocks. 
And herein the great masters separate themselves finally 
from the inferior ones ; for if the men of inferior genius 
ever expressed law at all, it is by the sacrifice of individ- 



uality. Thus, Salvator Rosa has great perception of trie 
sweep of foliage and rolling of clouds, but never draws a 
single leaflet or mist wreath accurately. Similarly, Grains- 
borough, in his landscape, has great feeling for masses of 
form and harmony of colour ; but in the detail gives noth- 
ing but meaningless touches ; not even so much as the 
species of tree, much less the variety of its leafage, being 
ever discernible. Now, although both these expressions 
of government and individuality are essential to masterly 
work, the individuality is the more essential, and the more 
difficult of attainment ; and, therefore, that attainment 
separates the great masters finally from the inferior ones. 
It is the more essential, because, in these matters of beauti- 
ful arrangement in visible things, the same rules hold that 
hold in moral things. It is a lamentable and unnatural 
thing to see a number of men subject to no government, 
actuated by no ruling principle, and associated by no com- 
mon affection : but it would be a more lamentable thing 
still, were it possible, to see a number of men so oppressed 
into assimilation as to have no more any individual hope 
or character, no differences in aim, no dissimilarities of 
passion, no irregularities of judgment ; a society in which 
no man could help another, since none would be feebler 
than himself ; no man admire another, since none would 
be stronger than himself ; no man be grateful to another, 
since by none he could be relieved ; no man reverence 
another, since by none he could be instructed ; a society in 
which every soul would be as the syllable of a stammerer 
instead of the word of a speaker, in which every man 
would walk as in a frightful dream, seeing spectres of 
himself, in everlasting multiplication, gliding helplessly 
around him in a speechless darkness. Therefore it is that 
perpetual difference, play, and change in groups of form 
are more essential to them even than their being subdued 
by some great gathering law: the law is needful to them 



for their perfection and their power, but the difference 
is needful to them for their life. 

And here it may be noted in passing, that if you enjoy 
the pursuit of analogies and types, and have any ingenuity 
of judgment in discerning them, you may always accu- 
rately ascertain what are the noble characters in^a piece of 
painting, by merely considering what are the noble cha- 
racters of man in his association with his fellows. TVnat 
grace of manner and refinement of habit are in society, 
grace of line and refinement of form are in the association 
of visible objects. What advantage or harm there may be 
in sharpness, ruggedness, or quaintness in the dealings or 
conversations of men ; rjrecisely that relative degree of 
advantage or harm there is/in them as elements of picto- 
rial composition. "What power is in liberty or relaxation 
to strengthen or relieve human souls ; that power, pre- 
cisely in the same relative degree, play and laxity of line 
have to strengthen or refresh the expression of a picture. 
And what goodness or greatness we can conceive to arise 
in companies of men, from chastity of thought, regularity 
of life, simplicity of custom, and balance of authority ; 
precisely that kind of goodness and greatness may be 
given to a picture by the purity of its color, the severity 
of its forms, and the symmetry of its masses. 

You need not be in the least afraid of pushing these 
analogies too far. They cannot be pushed too far ; they 
are so precise and complete, that the farther you pursue 
them, the clearer, the more certain, the more useful you 
will find them. They will not fail you in one particular, 
or in any direction of inquiry. There is no moral vice, 
no moral virtue, which has not its precise prototype in the 
art of painting; so that you may at your will illustrate 
the moral habit by the art, or the art by the moral habit. 
Affection and discord, fretfulness and quietness, feeble- 
ness and firmness, luxury and purity, pride and modesty, 



and all other such habits, and every conceivable modifica- 
tion and mingling of them, may be illustrated, with 
mathematical exactness, by conditions of line and colour; 
and not merely these definable vices and virtues, but also 
every conceivable shade of human character and passion, 
from the righteous or unrighteous majesty of the king, to 
the innocent or faultful simplicity of the shepherd boy. 

The pursuit of this subject belongs properly, however, 
to the investigation of the higher branches of composi- 
tion, matters which it would be quite useless to treat of in 
this book; and I only allude to them here, in order that 
you may understand how the utmost noblenesses of art are 
concerned in this minute work, to which I have set you 
in your beginning of it. For it is only by the closest at- 
tention, and the most noble execution, that it is possible 
to express these varieties of individual character, on 
which all excellence of portraiture depends, whether of 
masses of mankind, or of groups of leaves. 

'Now you will be able to understand, among other mat- 
ters, wherein consists the excellence, and wherein the 
shortcoming, of the tree-drawing of Harding. It is ex- 
cellent in so far as it fondly observes, w T ith more truth 
than any other work of the kind, the great laws of growth 
and action in trees : it fails — and observe, not in a minor, 
but in a principal point — because it cannot rightly render 
any one individual detail or incident of foliage. And in 
this it fails, not from mere carelessness or incompletion, 
but of necessity; the true drawing of detail being for 
evermore impossible to a hand which has contracted a 
habit of execution. The noble draughtsman draws a leaf, 
and stops, and says calmly — That leaf is of such and such 
a character ; I will give him a friend who will entirely 
suit him: then he considers what his friend ought to be, 
and having determined, he draws his friend. This pro- 
cess may be as quick as lightning when the master is 



great — one of the sons of the giants ; or it may be slow 
and timid : but the process is always gone through ; no 
touch or form is ever added to another by a good painter 
without a mental determination and affirmation. But 
when the hand has got into a habit, leaf Xo. 1. necessi- 
tates leaf No. 2. ; you cannot stop, your hand is as a horse 
with the bit in its teeth ; or rather is, for the time, a 
machine, throwing out leaves to order and pattern, all 
alike. You must stop that hand of yours, however pain- 
fully ; make it understand that it is not to have its own 
way any more, that it shall never more slip from one 
touch to another without orders ; otherwise it is not you 
who are the master, but your fingers. You may therefore 
study Harding's drawing, and take pleasure in it;* and 
you may properly admire the dexterity which applies the 
habit of the hand so well, and produces results on the 
whole so satisfactory : but you must never copy it, other- 
wise your progress will be at once arrested. The utmost 
you can ever hope to do, would be a sketch in Harding's 
manner, but of far inferior dexterity ; for he has given 
his life's toil to gain his dexterity, and you, I suppose, 
have other things to work at besides drawing. You would 
also incapacitate yourself from ever understanding what 
truly great work was, or what Nature was ; but by the 
earnest and complete study of facts, yon will gradually 
come to understand the one and love the other more and 
more, whether yon can draw well yourself or not. 

Lastly, I have yet to say a few words respecting the third 
law above stated, that of mystery ; the law, namely, that 
nothing is ever seen perfectly, but only by fragments, and 

* His lithographic sketches, those, for instance, in the Park and the 
Forest, and his various lessons on foliage, possess greater merit than the 
more ambitious engravings in his Principles and Practice of Art. There 
are many useful remarks, however, dispersed through this latter work. 



under various conditions of obscurity.* This last fact 
renders the visible objects of Nature complete as a type 
of the human nature. We have, observe, first, Subordi- 
nation / secondly, Individuality / lastly, and this not the 
least essential character, Incomprehensibility / a perpet- 
ual lesson in every serrated point and shining vein which 
escape or deceive our sight among the forest leaves, how 
little we may hope to discern clearly, or judge justly, the 
rents and veins of the human heart; how much of all 
that is round us, in men's actions or spirits, which we at 
first think we understand, a closer and more loving watch- 
fulness would show to be full of mystery, never to be 
either fathomed or withdrawn. 

The expression of this final character in landscape has 
never been completely reached by any except Turner; 

posed light and shade which renders the etchings of the 

* On this law you will do well, if you can get access to it, to look at 
the fourth chapter of the fourth volume of Modern Painters. 

Fig. 16. 

nor can you hope to reach 
it at all until you have 
given much time to the 
practice of art. Only 
try always when you are 
sketching any object 
with a view to comple- 
tion in light and shade, 
to draw only those parts 
of it which you really 
see definitely; prepar- 
ing for the after devel- 
opment of the forms by 
chiaroscuro. It is this 
preparation by isolated 
touches for a future ar- 
rangement of superim- 



Liber Studio-rum so inestimable as examples and so 
peculiar. The character exists more or less in them 
exactly in proportion to the pains that Turner has taken. 
Thus the ^Fsacus and ITesperie was wrought out with 
the greatest possible care ; and the principal branch on 
the near tree is etched as in Fig. 16. The work looks at 
first like a scholar's instead of a master's ; but when the 
light and shade are added, every touch falls into its place, 
and a perfect expression of grace and complexity results. 
Xay even before the light and shade are added, you ought 
to be able to see that these irregular and broken lines, 
especially where the expression is given of the way the 
stem loses itself in the leaves, are more true than the 
monotonous though graceful leaf-drawing which, before 
Turner's time, had been employed, even by the best 
masters, in their distant masses. Fig. 17. is sufficiently 
characteristic of the man- 
ner of the old woodcuts 
after Titian ; in which, 
you see, the leaves are too 
much of one shape, like 
bunches of fruit ; and the 
boughs too completely 
seen, besides being some- 
what soft and leathery 
in aspect, owing to the ■ Fig . 17> 

want of angles in their 

outline. By great men like Titian, this somewhat con- 
ventional structure was only given in haste to distant 
masses ; and their excpiisite delineation of the foreground, 
kept their conventionalism from degeneracy : but in the 
drawing of the Caracci and other derivative masters, 
the conventionalism prevails everywhere, and sinks grad- 
ually into scrawled work, like. Fig. 18., about the worst 
which it is possible to get into the habit of using, though 



an ignorant person might perhaps suppose it more 
"free," and therefore better than Fig. 16. Note, also, 
that in noble outline drawing, it does not follow that a 
bough is wrongly drawn, because it .looks contracted 
unnaturally somewhere, as in Fig. 16., just above the 
foliage. Very often the muscular action which is to be 
expressed by the line, runs into the middle of the branch, 
and the actual outline of the branch at that place may be 
dimly seen, or not at all ; and it is then only by the 
future shade that its actual shape, or the cause of its dis- 
appearance, will be indicated. 

One point more remains 
to be noted about trees, and 
I have done. In the minds 
of our ordinary water-colour 
artists, a distant tree seems 
only to be conceived as a 
flat green blot, grouping 
pleasantly with other masses, 
and giving cool colour to 
the landscape, but differing 
nowise, in texture, from the 
blots of other shapes, which 
these painters use to express 
stones, or water, or figures. 
But as soon as you have 
Fig. is. drawn trees carefully a little 

while, you will be impressed, 
and impressed more strongly the better you draw them, 
with the idea of their softness of surface. A distant tree 
is not a flat and even piece of colour, but a more or less 
globular mass of a downy or bloomy texture, partly pass- 
ing into a misty vagueness. I find, practically, this lovely 
softness of far-away trees the most difficult of all charac- 
ters to reach, because it cannot be got by mere scratching 



or roughening the surface, but is always associated with 
such delicate expressions of form and growth as are only 
imitable by very careful drawing. The penknife passed 
lightly over this careful drawing, will do a good deal ; but 
you must accustom yourself, from the beginning, to aim 
much at this softness in the lines of the drawing itself, by 
crossing them delicately, and more or less effacing and 
confusing the ed«;es. You must invent, according to the 
character of tree, various modes of execution adapted to 
express its texture ; but always keep this character of 
softness in your mind, and in your scope of aim ; for in 
most landscapes it is the intention of nature that the ten- 
derness and transparent infinitude of her foliage should be 
felt, even at the far distance, in the most distinct opposi- 
tion to the solid masses and flat surfaces of rocks or 

9. We were, in the second place, to consider a little 
the modes of representing water, of which important fea- 
ture of landscape I have hardly said anything yet. 

Water is expressed, in common drawings, by conven- 
tional lines, whose horizontality is supposed to convey the 
idea of its surface. In paintings, white dashes or bars of 
light are used for the same purpose. 

a. But these and all other such expedients are vain and 
absurd. A piece of calm water always contains a picture 
in itself, an exquisite reflection of the objects above it. If 
you give the time necessary to draw these reflections, dis- 
turbing them here and there as you see the breeze or cur- 
rent disturb them, you will get the effect of the water; 
but if you have not patience to draw the reflections, no 
expedient will give you a true effect. The picture in the 
pool needs nearly as much delicate drawing as the picture 
above the pool ; except only that if there be the least mo- 
tion on the water, the horizontal lines of the images will 
be diffused and broken, while the vertical ones will remain 



decisive, and the oblique ones decisive in proportion to 
their steepness. 

b. A few close studies will soon teach yon this : the only 
thing yon need to be told is to watch carefully the lines 
of disturbance on the surface, as when a bird swims 
across it, or a fish rises, or the current plays round a 
stone, reed, or other obstacle. Take the greatest pains to 
get the curves of these lines true ; the whole value of 
your careful drawing of the reflections may be lost by 
your admitting a single false curve of ripple from a wild 
duck's breast. And (as in other subjects) if you are dis- 
satisfied with your result, always try for more unity and 
delicacy : if your reflections are only soft and gradated 
enough, they are nearly sure to give you a pleasant effect. 
"When you are taking pains,, work the softer reflections, 
where they are drawn out by motion in the water, with 
touches as nearly horizontal as may be ; but when you are 
in a hurry, indicate the place and play of the images with 
vertical lines. The actual construction of a calm elonga- 
ted reflection is with horizontal lines : but it is often im- 
possible to draw the descending shades delicately enough 
with a horizontal touch ; and it is best always when you 
are in a hurry, and sometimes when yon are not, to use 
the vertical touch. When the ripples are large, the reflec- 
tions become shaken, and must be drawn with bold modu- 
latory descending lines. 

I need not, I should think, tell you that it is of the 
greatest possible importance to draw the curves of the 
shore rightly. Their perspective is, if not more subtle, at 
least more stringent than that of any other lines in Na- 
ture. It will not be detected by the general observer, if 
you miss the curve of a branch, or the sweep of a cloud, 
or the perspective of a building ;* but every intelligent 

* The student may hardly at first believe that the perspective of 



spectator will feel the difference between a rightly drawn 
bend of shore or shingle, and a false one. Absolutely 
right, in difficult river perspectives seen from heights, I 
believe no one but Turner ever has been yet; and ob- 
serve, there is no rule for them. To develope the curve 
mathematically would require a knowledge of the exact 
quantity of water in the river, the shape of its bed, and 
the hardness of the rock or shore ; and even with these 
data, the problem would be one which no mathematician 
could solve but approximative^. The instinct of the eye 
can do it ; nothing else. 

If, after a little study from Nature, you get puzzled by 
the great differences between the aspect of the reflected 
image and that of the object casting it ; and if you wish 
to know the law of reflection, it is simply this : Suppose 
all the objects above the water actually reversed (not in 
appearance, but in fact) beneath the water, and precisely 
the same in form and in relative position, only all topsy- 
turvy. Then, whatever you can see, from the place in 
which you stand, of the solid objects so reversed under 
the water, you will see in the reflection, always in the 
true perspective of the solid objects so reversed. 

If you cannot quite understand this in looking at water, 
take a mirror, lay it horizontally on the table, put some 
books and papers upon it, and draw them and their reflec- 
tions ; moving them about, and watching how their reflec- 
tions alter, and chiefly how their reflected colours and 
shades differ from their own colours and shades, by being 
brought into other oppositions. This difference in chiaro- 
scuro is a more important character in water painting 
than mere difference in form. 

G. When you are drawing shallow or muddy water, you 

buildings is of little consequence ; but he will find it so ultimately. 
See the remarks on this point in the Preface. 



will see shadows on the bottom, or on the surface, continu- 
ally modifying the reflections ; and in a clear mountain 
stream, the most wonderful complications of effect resulting 
from the shadows and reflections of the stones in it, min- 
gling with the aspect of the stones themselves seen through 
the water. Do not be frightened at the complexity ; but, 
on the other hand, do not hope to render it hastily. Look 
at it well, making out everything that you see, and dis- 
tinguishing each component part of the effect. There 
will be, first, the stones seen through the water, distorted 
always by refraction, so that if the general structure of 
the stone shows straight parallel lines above the water, 
you may be sure they will be bent where they enter it ; 
then the reflection of the part of the stone above the 
water crosses and interferes with the part that is seen 
through it, so that you can hardly tell which is which ; 
and wherever the reflection is darkest, you will see 
through the water best, and vice versa. Then the real 
shadow of the stone crosses both these images, and where 
that shadow falls, it makes the water more reflective, and 
where the sunshine falls, you will see more of the surface 
of the water, and of any dust or motes that may be float- 
ing on it : but whether you are to see, at the same spot, 
most of the bottom of the water, or of the reflection of the 
objects above, depends on the position of the eye. The 
more you look down into the water, the better you see ob- 
jects through it: the more you look along it, the eye be- 
ing low, the more you- see the reflection of objects above 
it. Hence the colour of a given space of surface in a 
stream will entirely change while you stand still in the 
same spot, merely as you stoop or raise your head ; and 
thus the colours with which water is painted are an indi- 
cation of the position of the spectator, and connected 
inseparably with the perspective of the shores. The 
most beautiful of all results that I know in mountain 



streams is when the water is shallow, and the stones 
at the bottom are rich reddish-orange and black, and the 
water is seen at an angle which exactly divides the visi- 
ble colours between those of the stones and that of the 
sky, and the sky is of clear, full blue. The resulting 
purple, obtained by the blending of the blue and the 
orange-red, broken by the play of innumerable gradations 
in the stones, is indescribably lovely. 

d. All this seems complicated enough already ; but if 
there be a strong colour in the clear water itself, as of 
green or blue in the Swiss lakes, all these phenomena are 
doubly involved ; for the darker reflections now become 
of the colour of the water. The reflection of a black 
gondola, for instance, at Venice, is never black, but pure 
dark green. And, farther, the colour of the water itself 
is of three kinds : one, seen on the surface, is a kind of 
milky bloom : the next is seen where the waves let light 
through them, at their edges ; and the third, shown as a 
change of colour on the objects seen through the water. 
Thus, the same wave that makes a white object look of a 
clear blue, when seen through it, will take a red or violet- 
coloured bloom on its surface, and will be made pure em- 
erald green by transmitted sunshine through its edges. 
I tell you this that you may approach lakes and streams 
with reverence, and study them as carefully as other 
things, not hoping to express them by a few horizontal 
dashes of white, or a few tremulous blots.* Not but that 

* It is a useful piece of study to dissolve some Prussian blue in water, 
so as to make the liquid definitely blue ; fill a large white basin with the 
solution, and put anything you like to float on it, or lie in it ; walnut 
shells, bits of wood, leaves of flowers, etc. Then study the effects or 
the reflections, and of the stems of the flowers or submerged portions 
of the floating objects, as tbey appear through the blue liquid ; noting 
especially how, as you lower your head and look along the surface, yo_i 
see the reflections clearly ; and how, as you raise your head, you los j 
the reflections, and see the submerged stems clearly. 



much may be done by tremulous blots, when you know 
precisely what you mean by them, as yon will see by many 
of the Turner sketches, which are now framed at the 
National Gallery ; but you must have painted water many 
and many a day — yes, and all day long — before you can 
hope to do anything like those. 

10. Lastly. You may perhaps wonder why, before pass- 
ing to the clouds, I say nothing special about ground. 
But there is too much to be said about that to admit of 
my saying it here. You will find the principal laws of 
its structure examined at length in the fourth volume 
of Modern Painters ; and if you can get that volume, 
and copy carefully Plate 21., which I have etched after 
Turner with great pains, it will giv T e you as much 
help as you need in the linear expression of ground- 
surface. Strive to get the retirement and succession of 
masses in irregular ground: much may be done in this 
way by careful watching of the perspective diminutions 
of its herbage, as well as by contour ; and much also by 
shadows. If you draw the shadows of leaves and tree 
trunks on any undulating ground with entire carefulness, 
you will be surprised to find how much they explain of 
the form and distance of the earth on which they fall. 

Passing then to skies, note that there is this great 
peculiarity about sky subject, as distinguished from earth 
subject ;— that the clouds, not being much liable to man's 
interference, are always beautifully arranged. You can- 
not be sure of this in any other features of landscape. 
The rock on which the effect of a mountain scene especi- 
ally depends is always precisely that which the roadmaker 
blasts or the landlord quarries ; and the spot of green 
which Nature left with a special purpose by her dark 
forest sides, and finished with her most delicate grasses, is 
always that which the farmer ploughs or builds upon. 
But the clouds, though we can hide them with smoke, 



and mix them with poison, cannot be quarried nor built 
over, and they are always therefore gloriously arranged ; 
so gloriously, that unless you have notable powers of 
memory you need not hope to approach the effect of any 
sky that interests you. For both its grace and its glow 
depend upon the united influence of every cloud within 
its compass : they all move and burn together in a mar- 
vellous harmony ; not a cloud of them is out of its ajD- 
pointed place, or fails of its part in the choir : and if you 
are not able to recollect (which in the case of a compli- 
cated sky it is impossible you should) precisely the form 
and position of all the clouds at a given moment, you 
cannot draw the sky at all ; for the clouds will not fit if 
you draw one part of them three or four minutes before 
another. You must try therefore to help what memory you 
have, by sketching at the utmost possible speed the whole 
range of the clouds ; marking, by any shorthand or sym- 
bolic work you can hit upon, the peculiar character of 
each, as transparent, or fleecy, or linear, or undulatory ; 
giving afterwards such completion to the parts as your 
recollection will enable you to do. This, however, only 
when the sky is interesting from its general asj)ect ; at 
other times, do not try to draw all the sky, but a single 
cloud ; sometimes a round cumulus will stay five or six 
minutes quite steady enough to let you mark out its prin- 
cipal masses; and one or two white or crimson lines which 
cross the sunrise will often stay without serious change 
for as long. And in order to be the readier in drawing 
them, practise occasionally drawing lumps of cotton, 
which will teach you better than any other stable thing 
the kind of softness there is in clouds. For you will find 
when you have made a few genuine studies of sky, and 
then look at any ancient or modern painting, that ordi- 
nary artists have always fallen into one of two faults ; 
either, in rounding the clouds, they make them as solid 



and hard-edged as a heap of stones tied up in a sack, or 
they represent them not as rounded at all, but as vague 
wreaths of mist or flat lights in the sky; and think they 
have done enough in leaving a little white paper between 
dashes of blue, or in taking an irregular space out with 
the sponge. Now clouds are not as solid as flour-sacks ; 
but, on the other hand, they are neither spongy nor flat. 
They are definite and very beautiful forms of sculptured 
mist ; sculptured is a perfectly accurate word ; they are 
not more drifted into form than they are carved into 
form, the warm air around them cutting them into shape by 
absorbing the visible vapour beyond certain limits ; hence 
their angular and fantastic outlines, as different from a 
swollen, spherical, or globular formation, on the one 
hand, as from that of flat films or shapeless mists on the 
other. And the worst of all is, that while these forms are 
difficult enough to draw on any terms, especially consid- 
ering that they never stay quiet, they must be drawn also 
at greater disadvantage of light and shade than any 
others, the force of light in clouds being wholly unattain- 
able by art ; so that if we put shade enough to express 
their form as positively as it is expressed in reality, we 
must make them painfully too dark on the dark sides. 
Nevertheless, they are so beautiful, if you in the least 
succeed with them, that you will hardly, I think, lose 
courage. Outline them often with the pen, as you can 
catch them here and there ; one of the chief uses of doing 
this will be not so much the memorandum so obtained as 
the lesson you will get respecting the softness of the cloud- 
outlines. You will always find yourself at a loss to see 
where the outline really is ; and when drawn it will al- 
ways look hard and false, and will assuredly be either 
too round or too square, however often you alter it, mere- 
ly passing from the one fault to the other and back 
again, the real cloud striking an inexpressible mean be- 



tween roundness and squareness in all its coils or battle- 
ments. I speak at present, of course, only of the cumulus 
cloud: the lighter wreaths and flakes of the upper sky 
cannot be outlined ; — they can only be sketched, like locks 
of hair, by many lines of the pen. Firmly developed 
bars of cloud on the horizon are in general easy enough, 
and may be drawn with decision. "When you have thus 
accustomed yourself a little to the placing and action of 
clouds, try to work out their light and shade, just as care- 
fully as you do that of other things, looking exclusively 
for examples of treatment to the vignettes in Rogers's 
Italy and Poems, and to the Liber Studiorum, unless you 
have access to some examples of Turner's own work. 
No other artist ever yet drew the sky: even Titian's 
clouds, and Tintoret's, are conventional. The clouds in 
the " Ben Arthur," " Source of Arveron," and " Calais 
Pier," are among the best of Turner's storm studies; and 
of the upper clouds, the vignettes to Rogers's Poems fur- 
nish as many examples as you need. 

If you have any real talent for drawing, you will take 
delight in the discoveries of natural loveliness, which the 
studies I have already proposed will lead you into, among 
the fields and hills ; and be assured that the more quietly 
and single-heartedly you take each step in the art, the 
quicker, on the whole, will your progress be. 

El. Drawing, 91-134. 



§ 1. Among the several characteristics of great treatment 
which have been alluded to without being enlarged upon, 
one will be found several times named ; — reserve. 

It is necessary for our present purpose that we should 
understand this quality more distinctly. I mean by it the 
power which a great painter exercises over himself in fix- 
ing certain limits, either of force, of color, or of quantity 
of work ; — limits which he will not transgress in any part 
of his picture, even though here and there a painful sense 
of incomplction may exist, under the fixed conditions, and 
might tempt an inferior workman to infringe them. The 
nature of this reserve we must understand in order that 
we may also determine the nature of true completion or 
perfectness, which is the end of composition. 

§ 2. For perfectness, properly so called, means harmony. 
The word signifies, literally, the doing our work thorough- 
ly. It does not mean carrying it up to any constant and 
established degree of finish, but carrying the whole of it 
up to a degree determined upon. In a chalk or pencil 
sketch by a great master, it will often be found that the 
deepest shades are feeble tints of pale grey ; the outlines 
nearly invisible, and the forms brought out by a ghostly 
delicacy of touch, which, on looking close to the paper, 
will be indistinguishable from its general texture. A 
single line of ink, occurring anywhere in such a drawing, 
would of course destroy it ; placed in the darkness of a 
mouth or nostril, it would turn the expression into a cari- 



cature ; on a cheek or brow it would be simply a blot. 
Yet let the blot remain, and let the master work up to it 
with lines of similar force ; and the drawing which was 
before perfect, in terms of pencil, will become, under his 
. hand, perfect in terms of ink ; and what was before a 
scratch on the cheek will become a necessary and beautiful 
part of its gradation. 

All great work is thus reduced under certain conditions, 
and its right to be called complete depends on its fulfil- 
ment of them, not on the nature of the conditions chosen. 
Habitually, indeed, we call a coloured work which is satis- 
factory to us, finished, and a chalk drawing unfinished ; 
but in the mind of the master, all his work is, according 
to the sense in which you use the word, equally perfect or 
imperfect. Perfect, if you regard its purpose and limita- 
tion ; imperfect, if you compare it with the natural stand- 
ard. In what appears to you consummate, the master 
has assigned to himself terms of shortcoming, and marked 
with a sad severity the point up to which he will permit 
himself to contend with nature. Were it not for his 
acceptance of such restraint, he could neither cpiit his 
work, nor endure it. He could not quit it, for he would 
always perceive more that might be done ; he could not 
endure it, because all doing ended only in more elaborate 

§ 3. But we are apt to forget, in modern clays, that the 
reserve of a man who is not putting forth half his strength 
is different in manner and dignity from the effort of one 
who can do no more. Charmed, and justly charmed, by 
the harmonious sketches of great painters, and by the 
grandeur of their acquiescence in the point of pause, we 
have put ourselves to produce sketches as an end instead 
of a means, and thought to imitate the painter's scornful 
restraint of his own power, by a scornful rejection of the 
things beyond ours. For many reasons, therefore, it be- 



comes desirable to understand precisely and finally what 
a good painter means by completion. 

§ 4. The sketches of true painters may be classed under 
the following heads : — 

I. Experimental. — In which they are assisting an im- 
perfect conception of a subject by trying the look of it on 
paper in different ways. 

By the greatest men this kind of sketch is hardly ever 
made ; they conceive their subjects distinctly at once, and 
their sketch is not to try them, but to fasten them down. 
Raphael's form the only important exception — and the 
numerous examples of experimental work by him are evi- 
dence of his composition being technical rather than 
imaginative. I have never seen a drawing of the kind 
by any great Venetian. Among the nineteen thousand 
sketches by Turner — which I arranged in the National 
Gallery — there was, to the best of my recollection, not one. 
In several instances the work, after being carried forward 
a certain length, had been abandoned and begun again 
with another view; sometimes also two or more modes of 
treatment had been set side by side with a view to choice. 
But there were always two distinct imaginations contend- 
ing for realization — not experimental modifications of 

§ 5. II. Determinant. — The fastening down of an idea 
in the simplest terms, in order that it may not be disturbed 
or confused by after work. Nearly all the great com- 
posers do this, methodically, before beginning a painting. 
Such sketches are usually in a high degree resolute and 
compressive ; the best of them outlined or marked calmly 
with the pen, and deliberately washed with color, indicat- 
ing the places of the principal lights. 

Fine drawings of this class never show any hurry or 



confusion. They are the expression of concluded opera- 
tions of mind, are drawn slowly, and are not so much 
sketches, as maps. 

§ 6. III. Commemorative. — Containing records of facts 
which the master required. These in their most elaborate 
form are " studies," or drawings, from Nature, of parts 
needed in the composition, often highly finished in the 
part which is to be introduced. In this form, however, 
they never occur by the greatest imaginative masters. 
For by a truly great inventor everything is invented ; no 
atom of the work is unmodified by his mind ; and no study 
from nature, however beautiful, could be introduced by 
him into his design without change; it would not tit with 
the rest. Finished studies for introduction are therefore 
chiefly by Leonardo and Raphael, both technical designers 
rather than imaginative ones. 

Commemorative sketches, by great masters, are generally 
hasty, merely to put them in mind of motives of invention, 
or they are shorthand memoranda of things with which 
they do not care to trouble their memory ; or, finally, 
accurate notes of things which they must not modify by 
invention, as local detail, costume, and such like. You 
may find perfectly accurate drawings of coats of arms, 
portions of dresses, pieces of architecture, and so on, by 
all the great men ; but you will not find elaborate studies 
of bits of their pictures. 

§ 7. When the sketch is made merely as a memorandum, 
it is impossible to say how little, or what kind of drawing, 
may be sufficient for the purpose. It is of course likely 
to be hasty from its very nature, and unless the exact pur- 
pose be understood, it may be as unintelligible as a piece 
of shorthand writing. For instance, in the corner of a 
sheet of sketches made at sea, among those of Turner, at 
the National Gallery, occurs this one, Fig. 19. I suppose 



most persons would not see much use in it. It neverthe- 
less was probably one of the most important sketches made 
in Turner's life,, fixing for ever in his mind certain facts 
respecting the sunrise from a clear sea-horizon. Having 


Fig. 19. 

myself watched such sunrise, occasionally, I perceive this 
sketch to mean as follows : — 

(Half circle at the top.) When the sun was only half 
out of the sea, the horizon was sharply traced across its 
disk, and red streaks of vapor crossed the lower part of it. 



(Horseshoe underneath.) When the sun had risen so 
far as to show three-quarters of its diameter, its light 
became so great as to conceal the sea-horizon, consuming 
it away in descending rays. 

(Smaller horseshoe below.) When on the point of de- 
taching itself from the horizon, the sun still consumed 
away the line of the sea, and looked as if pulled down 
by it. 

(Broken oval.) Having risen about a fourth of its 
diameter above the horizon, the sea-line reappeared ; but 
the risen orb was flattened by refraction into an oval. 

(Broken circle.) Having risen a little farther above the 
sea-line, the sun, at last, got itself round, and all right, 
with sparkling reflection on the waves just below the sea- 

This memorandum is for its purpose entirely perfect 
and efficient, though the sun is not drawn carefully round, 
but with a dash of the pencil ; but there is no affected or 
desired slightness. Could it have been drawn round as 
instantaneously, it would have been. The purpose is 
throughout determined ; there is no scrawling, as in vul- 
gar sketching. " x " 

§ 8. Again, Fig. 20 is a facsimile of one of Turner's 
" memoranda," of a complete subject, f Lausanne, from the 
road to Fribourg. 

This example is entirely characteristic of his usual draw- 
ings from nature, which unite two characters, being both 

* The word in the uppermost note, to the right of the sun, is "red ; " 
the others, " yellow," " purple," "cold" light grey. He always noted 
the colours of the skies in this way. 

f It is not so good a facsimile as those I have given from Durer, for 
the original sketch is in light pencil ; and the thickening and delicate 
emphasis of the lines, on which nearly all the beauty of the drawing 
depended, cannot be expressed in the woodcut, though marked by a 
double line as well as I could. But the figure will answer its purpose 
well enough in showing Turner's mode of sketching. 




commemorative and determinant: — Commemorative, in so 
far as they note certain facts about the place : determi- 
nant, in that they record an impression received from the 
place there and then, together with the principal arrange- 
ment of the composition in which it was afterwards to be 
recorded. In this mode of sketching, Turner differs from 
all other men whose work I have studied. lie never 
draws accurately on the spot, with the intention of modi- 
fying or composing afterwards from the materials; but 
instantly modifies as he draws, placing his memoranda 
where they are to be ultimately used, and taking exactly 
what he wants, not a fragment or line more. 

§ 9. This sketch has been made in the afternoon. He 
had been impressed as he walked up the hill, by the van- 
ishing of the lake in the golden horizon, without end of 
waters, and by the opposition of the pinnacled castle and 
cathedral to its level breadth. That must be drawn ! and 
from this spot, wdiere all the buildings are set well together. 
But it lucklessly happens that, though the buildings come 
just where he wants them in situation, they don't in height. 
For the castle (the square mass on the right) is in reality 
higher than the cathedral, and would block out the end 
of the lake. Down it goes instantly a hundred feet, that 
we may see the lake over it ; without the smallest regard 
for the military position of Lausanne. 

§ 10. Next : The last low spire on the left is in truth 
concealed behind the nearer bank, the town running far 
down the hill (and climbing another hill) in that direction. 
But the group of spires, without it, would not be rich 
enough to give a proper impression of Lausanne, as a 
spiry place. Turner quietly sends to fetch the church 
from round the corner, places it where he likes, and indi- 
cates its distance only by aerial perspective (much greater 
in the pencil drawing than in the woodcut). 

§ 11. But again : Not only the spire of the lower 



church, hut the peak of the Rochers d'Enfer (that highest 
in the distance) would in reality be out of sight; it is 
much farther round to the left. This would never do 
either ; for without it, we should have no idea that Lau- 
sanne was opposite the mountains, nor should we have a 
nice sloping line to lead us into the distance. 

With the same unblushing tranquillity of mind in which 
he had ordered up the church, Turner sends also to fetch 
the Rochers d'Enfer ; and puts them also where he 
chooses, to crown the slope of distant hill, which, as every 
traveller knows, in its decline to the west, is one of the 
most notable features of the view from Lausanne. 

§ 12. These modifications, easily traceable in the large 
features of the design, are carried out with equal audacity 
and precision in every part of it. Every one of those 
confused lines on the right indicates something that is 
really there, only everything is shifted and sorted into the 
exact places that Turner chose. The group of dark 
objects near us at the foot of the bank is a cluster of 
mills, which, when the picture was completed, were to be 
the blackest things in it, and to throw back the castle, and 
the golden horizon ; while the rounded touches at the 
bottom, under the castle, indicate a row of trees, which 
follow a brook coming out of the ravine behind us ; and 
were going to be made very round indeed in the picture 
(to oppose the spiky and angular masses of castle) and 
very consecutive, in order to form another conducting line 
into the distance. 

§ 13. These motives, or motives like them, might per- 
haps be guessed on looking at the sketch. But no one 
without going to the spot would understand the meaning 
of the vertical lines in the left-hand lowest corner. 

They are a " memorandum " of the artificial vertical- 
ness of a low sandstone cliff, which has been cut down 
there to give space for a bit of garden belonging to a 



public-house beneath, from which garden a path leads 
along the ravine to the Lausanne rifle ground. The value 
of these vertical lines in repeating those of the cathedral 
is very great ; it would be greater still in the completed 
picture, increasing the sense of looking down from a height, 
and giving grasp of, and power over, the whole scene. 

§ 14. Throughout the sketch, as in all that Turner made, 
the observing and combining intellect acts in the same man- 
ner. Not a line is lost, nor a moment of time ; and though 
the pencil flics, and the whole thing is literally done as fast 
as a piece of shorthand writing, it is to the full as purpose- 
ful and compressed, so that while there are indeed dashes 
of the pencil which are unintentional, they are only unin- 
tentional as the form of a letter is, in fast writing, not 
from Avant of intention, but from the accident of haste. 

§ 15. I know not if the reader can understand, — I my- 
self cannot, though I see it to be demonstrable, — the 
simultaneous occurrence of idea which produces such a 
drawing as this : the grasp of the whole, from the laying 
of the first line, which induces continual modifications of 
all that is done, out of respect to parts not done yet. 
~Nq line is ever changed or effaced ; no experiment made ; 
but every touch is placed with reference to all that are to 
succeed, as to all that have gone before ; every addition 
takes its part, as the stones in an arch of a bridge ; the last 
touch locks the arch. Remove that keystone, or remove 
any other of the stones of the vault, and the whole will fall. 

§ 16. I repeat — the powder of mind which accomplishes 
this, is yet wholly inexplicable to me, as it was when first 
I defined it in the chapter on imagination associative, in 
the second volume. But the grandeur of the power im- 
presses me daily more and more; and, in quitting this 
subject, lot mo assert finally, in clearest and strongest 
terms, that no painting is of any true imaginative perfect- 
ness at all, unless it has been thus conceived. 



One sign of its being thus conceived may be always 
found in the straightforwardness of its work. There are 
continual disputes among artists as to . the best way of 
doing things, which may nearly all be resolved into con- 
fessions of indetermi nation. If you know precisely what 
you want, you will not feel much hesitation in setting 
about it ; and a picture may be painted almost any way, 
so only that it can be a straight way.. Give a true painter 
a ground of black, white, scarlet, or green, and out of it 
he will bring what you choose. From the black, bright- 
ness ; from the white, sadness ; from the scarlet, cool- 
ness ; from the green, glow : he will make anything out 
of anything, but in each case his method will be pure, 
direct, perfect, the shortest and simplest possible. You 
will find him, moreover, indifferent as to succession of 
process. Ask him to begin at the bottom of the picture 
instead of the top, — to finish two square inches of it with- 
out touching the rest, or to lay a separate ground for 
every part before finishing any ; — it is all the same to 
him ! What he will do if left to himself, depends on 
mechanical convenience, and on the time at his disposal. 
If he has a large brush in his hand, and plenty of one colour 
ground, he may lay as much as is wanted of that colour, at 
once, in every part of the picture where it is to occur ; 
and if any is left, perhaps walk to another canvas, and 
lay the rest of it where it will be wanted on that. If, on 
the contrary, he has a small brush in his hand, and is in- 
terested in a particular spot of the picture, he will, per- 
haps, not stir from it till that bit is finished. But the ab- 
solutely best, or centrally, and entirely right way of 
painting is as follows : — 

§ 17. A light ground, white, red, yellow, or grey, not 
brown, or black. On that an entirely accurate, and firm 
black outline of the whole picture, in its principal masses. 
The outline to be exquisitely correct as far as it reaches, 



but not to include small details ; the use of it being to 
limit the masses of first colour. The ground-colours then to 
be laid firmly, each on its own proper part of the picture, 
as inlaid work in a mosaic table, meeting each other truly 
at the edges : as much of each being laid as will get itself 
into the state which the artist requires it to be in for his 
second painting, by the time he comes to it. On this first 
colour, the second colours and subordinate masses laid in 
due order, now, of course, necessarily without previous 
outline, and all small detail reserved to the last, the brace- 
let being not touched, nor indicated in the last, till the 
arm is finished."" 

§ 18. This is, as far as it can be expressed in few words, 
the right, or Venetian way of painting ; but it is incapa- 
ble of absolute definition, for it depends on the scale, the 
material, and the nature of the object represented, koto 
much a great painter will do with his first colour ; or how 
many after processes he will use. Yery often the first 
colour, richly blended and worked into, is also the last ; 
sometimes it wants a glaze only to modify it ; sometimes 
an entirely different colour above it. Turner's storm- 
blues, for instance, were produced by a black ground, 
with opaque blue, mixed with white, struck over it.f The 
amount of detail given in the first colour will also depend 

* Thus, in the Holy Family of Titian, lately purchased for the Na- 
tional Gallery, the piece of St. Catherine's dress over her shoulders is ** 
painted on the under dress, after that was dry. All its value would 
have been lost, had the slightest tint or trace of it been given previously. 
This picture, I think, and certainly many of Tintoret's, are painted on 
dark grounds ; but this is to save time, and with some loss to the future 
brightness of the colour. 

f In cleaning the "Hero and Leander," now in the National collec- 
tion, these upper glazes were taken off, and only the black ground left. 
I remember the picture when its distance was of the most exquisite 
blue. I have no doubt the "Fire at Sea" has had its distance de- 
stroyed in the same manner. 




on convenience. For instance, if a jewel fastens a fold of 
dress, a Venetian will lay probably a piece of the jewel 
colour in its place at the time he draws the fold ; but if 
the jewel falls upon the dress, he will paint the folds only 
in the ground colour, and the jewel afterwards. For in 
the first case his hand must pause, at any rate, where the 
fold is fastened ; so that he may as well mark the colour 
of the gem : but he would have to check his hand in the 

- sweep with which he drew the drapery, if he painted a 
jewel that fell upon it with the first colour. So far, how- 
ever, as he can possibly use the under colour, he will, in 
whatever he has to superimpose. There is a pretty little 
instance of such economical work in the painting of the 
pearls on the breast of the elder princess, in our best Paul 
Veronese (Family of Darius). The lowest is about the 
size of a small hazel-nut, and falls on her rose-red dress. 
Any other but a Venetian would have put a complete 
piece of white paint over the dress, for the whole pearl, 
and painted into that the colours of the stone. But Vero- 
nese knows beforehand that all the dark side of the pearl 
will reflect the red of the dress. He will not put white 
over the red, only to put red over the white again. He 
leaves the actual dress for the dark side of the pearl, and 
with two small separate touches, one white, another brown, 
places its high light- and shadow. This he does with per- 
fect care and calm ; but in two decisive seconds. There is 

# no dash, nor display, nor hurry, nor error. The exactly 
right thing is done in the exactly right place, and not one 
atom of colour, nor moment of time spent vainly. Look 
close at the two touches, — you wonder what they mean. 
Retire six feet from the picture — the pearl is there ! 

§ 19. The degree in which the ground colours are ex- 
tended over his picture, as he works, is to a great painter 
absolutely indifferent. It is all the same to him whether 
he grounds a head, and finishes it at once to the shoulders, 



leaving all round it white; or whether he grounds the 
whole picture. His harmony, paint as he will, never can be 
complete till the last touch is given ; so long as it remains 
incomplete, he does not care how little of it is suggested, 
or how many notes are missing. All is wrong till all is 
right ; and he must be able to bear the all- wron guess till 
his work is done, or he cannot paint at all. His mode of 
treatment will, therefore, depend on the nature of his sub- 
ject; as is beautifully shown in the water-colour sketches 
by Turner in the National Gallery. His general system 
was to complete inch by inch; leaving the paper quite 
white all round, especially if the work was to be delicate. 
The most excpiisite drawings left unfinished in the col- 
lection — those at Rome and Naples — are thus outlined 
accurately on pure white paper, begun in the middle of 
the sheet, and worked out to the side, finishing as he 
proceeds. If, however, any united effect of light or colour 
is to embrace a large part of the subject, he will lay it in 
with a broad wash over the whole paper at once ; then 
paint into it using it as a ground, and modifying it in the 
pure Venetian maimer. His oil pictures were laid roughly 
with ground colours, and painted into with such rapid skill, 
that the artists who used to see him finishino; at the 
Academy sometimes suspected him of having the picture 
finished underneath the colors he showed, and removing, 
instead of adding, as they watched. 

§ 20. But, whatever the means used may be, the certainty 
and directness of them imply absolute grasp of the whole 
subject, and without this grasp there is no good painting. 
This, finally, let me declare, without cpialification — that 
partial conception is no conception. The whole picture 
must be imagined, or none of it is. And this grasp of the 
whole implies very strange and sublime equalities of mind. 
It is not possible, unless the feelings are completely under 
control ; the least excitement or passion will disturb the 



measured equity of power ; a painter needs to be as cool 
as a general ; and as little moved or subdued by his sense 
,pf pleasure, as a soldier by the sense of pain. Nothing 
good can be done without intense feeling ; but it must be 
feeling so crushed that the work is set about with mechan- 
ical steadiness, absolutely untroubled, as a surgeon — not 
without pity, but conquering it and putting it aside — 
begins an operation. Until the feelings can give strength 
enough to the will to enable it to conquer them, they are 
not strong enough. If you cannot leave your picture at 
any moment ; — cannot turn from it and go on with another, 
while the colour is drying; — cannot work at any part of it 
you choose, with equal contentment — you have not firm 
enough grasp of it. 

§ 21. It follows, also, that no vain or selfish person can 
possibly paint, in the noble sense of the word. Vanity 
and selfishness are troublous, eager, anxious, petulant : — 
painting can only be done in calm of mind. Resolution is 
not enough to secure this ; it must be secured by dispo- 
sition as well. You may resolve to think of your picture 
only ; but, if you have been fretted before beginning, no 
manly, or clear grasp of it will be possible for you. JSTo 
forced calm is calm enough. Only honest calm, — natural 
calm. You might as well try by external pressure to 
smoothe a lake till it could reflect the sky, as by violence 
of effort to secure the peace through which only you can 
reach imagination. That peace must come in its own 
time ; as the waters settle themselves into clearness as well 
as quietness ; you can no more filter your mind into purity 
than you can compress it into calmness ; you must keep it 
pure, if you would have it pure ; and throw no stones into 
it, if you would have it quiet. Great courage and self- 
command may, to a certain extent, give power of painting 
without the true calmness underneath; but never doing 
first-rate work. There is sufficient evidence of this, in 



even what we know of great men, though of the greatest, 
we nearly always know the least (and that necessarily; 
they being very silent, and not much given to setting 
themselves forth to questioners ; apt to be contemptuously 
reserved, no less than unselfishly). But in such writings 
and sayings as we possess of theirs, we may trace a quite 
curious gentleness and serene courtesy. Rubens' letters 
are almost ludicrous in their unhurried politeness. Rey- 
nolds, swiftest of painters, was gentlest of companions ; so 
also Yelasquez, Titian, and Veronese. 

§ 22. It is gratuitous to add that no shallow or petty per- 
son can paint. Mere cleverness or special gift never made 
an artist. It is only perfectness of mind, unity, depth, de- 
cision, the highest qualities, in fine, of the intellect, which 
w T ill form the imagination. 

§ 23. And, lastly, no false person can paint. A person 
false at heart may, when it suits his purpose, seize a stray 
truth here and there ; but the relations of truth — its per- 
fectness — that which makes it wholesome truth, he can 
never perceive. As wholeness and wliolesomeness go to- 
gether, so also sight with sincerity ; it is only the constant 
desire of, and submissiveness to truth, which can measure 
its strange angles and mark its infinite aspects ; and fit 
them and knit them into the strength of sacred invention. 

Sacred, I call it deliberately ; for it is thus, in the most 
accurate senses, humble as well as helpful ; meek in its 
receiving, as magnificent in its disposing ; the name it 
bears being rightly given to invention formal, not because 
it forn is, but because it finds. For you cannot find a lie • 
you must make it for yourself. False things may be im- 
agined, and false things composed ; but only truth can 
be invented. Nature is never false. 5 M. P., 191. 



I. R,och and Soil Foregrounds. — We have now to ob- 
serve the close characteristics of the rocks and soils. 

1. There exists a marked distinction between those strati- 
fied rocks, whose beds are amorphous and without sub- 
division, as many limestones and sandstones, and those 
which are divided by lines of lamination, as all slates. 
The last kind of rock is the more frequent in nature, and 
forms the greater part of all hill scenery ; it has, how- 
ever, been successfully grappled with by few, even of 
the moderns, except Turner ; while there is no single ex- 
ample of any aim at it or thought of it among the ancients, 
whose foregrounds, as far as it is possible to guess at their 
intention through their concentrated errors, are chosen 
from among the tufa and travertin of the lower Apennines 
(the ugliest as well as the least characteristic rocks of na- 
ture), and whose larger features of rock scenery, if we 
look at them with a predetermination to find in them a re- 
semblance of something, may be pronounced at least liker 
the mountain limestone than anything else. I shall glance, 
therefore, at the general characters of these materials first, 
in order that we may be able to appreciate the fidelity of 
rock-drawing on which Salvator's reputation has been built. 
Of all foregrounds, one of loose stone is most difficult to 
draw. 4M. P., 303. 

2. The massive limestones separate generally into irregu- 
lar blocks, tending to the form of cubes or parallelopipeds, 
and terminated by tolerably smooth planes. The weather, 



acting on the edges of these blocks, rounds them off, but 
the frost, which, while it cannot penetrate nor split the 
body of the stone, acts energetically on the angles, splits 
off the rounded fragments, and supplies sharp, fresh, and 
complicated edges. Hence the angles of such blocks are 
usually marked by a series of steps and fractures, in which 
the peculiar character of the rock is most distinctly seen ; 
the effect being increased in many limestones by the inter- 
position of two or three thinner beds between the large 
strata of which the block has been a part ; these thin lami- 
nae breaking easily, and supplying a number of fissures 
and lines of the edge of the detached mass. Thus, as a 
general principle, if a rock have character anywhere, it 
will he on the angle, and however even and smooth its 
great planes may he, it will usually break into variety 
where it turns a corner. In one of the most exquisite 
pieces of rock truth ever put on canvas, the foreground of 
the Napoleon in the Academy, 1842, this principle was 
beautifully exemplified in the complicated fractures of the 
upper angle just where it turned from the light, while the 
planes of the rock were varied only by the modulation 
they owed to the waves. It follows from this structure 
that the edges of all rock being partially truncated, first by 
large fractures, and then by the rounding of the fine edges 
of these by the weather, perpetually present convex transi- 
tions from the light to the dark side, the planes of the rock 
almost always swelling a little from the angle. 

3. Now it will be found throughout the works of Salvator, 
that his most usual practice was to give a concave sweep 
of the brush for his first expression of the dark side, leav- 
ing the paint darkest towards the light; by which daring 
and original method of procedure he has succeeded in 
covering his foregrounds with forms which apru'oximate 
to those of drapery, of ribbons, of crushed cocked hats, gf 
locks of hair, of waves, leaves, or anything, in short, flexible 



or tough, but which of course are not only unlike, but 
directly contrary to the forms which nature has impressed 
on rocks.* And the circular and sweeping strokes or stains 
which are dashed at random over their surfaces, only fail 
of destroying all resemblance whatever to rock structure 
from their frequent want of any meaning at all, and from 
the impossibility of our supposing any of them to be rep- 
resentative of shade. 

4. Now, if there be any part of landscape in which 
nature developes her principles of light and shade 
more clearly than another, it is rock ; for the dark sides 
of fractured stone receive brilliant reflexes from the 
lighted surfaces, on which the shadows are marked 
with the most exquisite precision, especially because, 
owing to the parallelism of cleavage, the surfaces lie 
usually in directions nearly parallel. Hence every crack 
and fissure has its shadow and reflected light sepa- 
rated with the most delicious distinctness, and the organi- 
zation and solid form of all parts are told with a decision 
of language, which, to be followed with anything like 
fidelity, requires the most transparent colour, and the 
most delicate and scientific drawing. So far are the 

* I have cut out a passage in this place which insisted on the angular 
character of rocks, — not because it was false, but because it was incom- 
plete, and I cannot explain it nor complete it without example. It is 
not the absence of curves, but the suggestion of hardness through curves, 
and of the under tendencies of the inward structure, which form the 
true chacteristics of rock form : and Salvator, whom neither here or 
elsewhere I have abused enough, is not wrong because he paints curved 
rocks, but because his curves are the curves of ribbons and not of rocks ; 
and the differeuce between rock curvature and other curvature I cannot 
explain verbally, but I hope to do it hereafter by illustration ; and, at 
present, let the reader study the rock- drawing of the Mont St. Gothard 
subject, in the Liber Studiorum, and compare it with any examples of 
Salvator to which he may happen to have access. All the account of 
rocks here given is altogether inadequate, and I only do not alter it 
because I first wish to give longer study to the subject. 



works of the old landscape-painters from rendering this, 
that it is exceedingly rare to find a single passage in 
which the shadow can even be distinguished from the 
dark side — they scarcely seem to know the one to be 
darker than the other ; and the strokes of the brush are 
not used to explain or express a form known or conceived, 
but are dashed and daubed about without any aim beyond 
the covering of the canvas. " A rock," the old masters 
appear to say to themselves, " is a great irregular, form- 
less, characterless lump ; but it must have shade upon it, 
and any grey marks will do for that shade." 

5. Finally, while few, if any, of the rocks of nature are 
untra versed by delicate and slender fissures, whose black 
sharp lines are the only means by which the peculiar qua- 
lity in which rocks most differ from the other objects of 
the landscape, brittleness, can be effectually suggested, we 
look in vain among the blots and stains with which the 
rocks of ancient art are loaded, for any vestige or appear- 
ance of fissure or splintering. Toughness and malleabil- 
ity appear to be the qualities whose expression is most 
aimed at ; sometimes sponginess, softness, flexibility, tenu- 
ity, and occasionally transparenc} 7 . Take, for instance, 
the foreground of Salvator, in No. 220 of the Dulwich 
Gallery. There is, on the right-hand side of it, an object, 
which I never walk through the room without contem- 
plating for a minute or two with renewed solicitude and 
anxiety of mind, indulging in a series of very wild and 
imaginative conjectures as to its probable or possible 
meaning. I think there is reason to suppose that the 
artist intended it either for a very large stone, or for the 
trunk of a tree ; but any decision as to its being either one 
or the other of these must, I conceive, be the extreme of 
rashness. It melts into the ground on one side, and might 
reasonably he conjectured to form a part of it, having no 
trace of woody structure or colour ; but on the other side 



it presents a series of concave curves, interrupted by cogs 
like those of a water-wheel, which the boldest theorist 
would certainly not feel himself warranted in supposing 
Symbolical of rock. The forms which this substance, 
whatever it be, assumes, will be found repeated, though in 
a less degree, in the foreground of No. 159, where they 
are evidently meant for rock. 

6. Let us contrast with this system of rock-drawing, the 
faithful, scientific, and dexterous studies of nature which 
we find in the works of Clarkson Stanfield. He is a man 
especially to be opposed to the old masters, because he usu- 
ally confines himself to the same rock subjects as they — 
the mouldering and furrowed crags of the secondary for- 
mation which arrange themselves more or less into broad 
and simple masses ; and in the rendering of these it is 
impossible to go beyond him. Nothing can surpass his 
care, his firmness, or his success, in marking the distinct 
and sharp light and shade by which the form is explained, 
never confusing it with local colour, however richly his 
surface-texture may be given ; while the wonderful play 
of line with which he will vary, and through which he 
will indicate, the regularity of stratification, is almost as 
instructive as that of nature herself. I cannot point to 
any of his works as better or more characteristic than 
others ; but his Isehia, in the present British Institution, 
may be taken as a fair average example. The Botallack 
Mine, Cornwall, engraved in the Coast Scenery, gives us a 
rery finished and generic representation of rock, whose 
primal organization has been violentlj 7 affected by external 
influences. We have the stratification and cleavage indi- 
cated at its base, every fissure being sharp, angular, and 
decisive, disguised gradually as it rises by the rounding 
of the surface and the successive furrows caused by the 
descent of streams. But the exquisite drawing of the 
foreground is especially worthy of notice. No huge con- 



cave sweeps of the brush, no daubing or splashing here. 
Every inch of it is brittle and splintery, and the fissures 
are explained to the eye by the most perfect, speaking 
light and shade, — we can stumble over the edges of them. 
The East Cliff, Hastings, is another very fine example, 
from the exquisite irregularity with which its squareness 
of general structure is varied and disguised. Observe 
how totally contrary every one of its lines is to the absurd- 
ities of Salvator. Stanfield's are all angular and straight, 
every apparent curve made up of right lines, while Salva- 
tor's are all sweeping and flourishing like so much pen- 
manship. Stanfield's lines pass away into delicate splin- 
tery fissures. Salvator's are broad daubs throughout. 
Not one of Stanfield's lines is like another. Every one 
of Salvator's mocks all the rest. All Stanfield's curves, 
where his universal angular character is massed, as on the 
left-hand side, into large sweeping forms, are convex. 
Salvator's are every one concave. 

7. The foregrounds of J. D. Harding and rocks of his 
middle distances are also thoroughly admirable. He is 
not quite so various and undulating in his line as Stan- 
field, and sometimes, in his middle distances, is wanting in 
solidity, owing to a little confusion of the dark side and 
shadow with each other, or with the local colour. But 
his work, in near passages of fresh-broken, sharp-edged 
rock, is absolute perfection, excelling Stanfield in the per- 
fect freedom and facility with which his fragments are 
splintered and scattered; true in every line without the 
least apparent effort. Stanfield's best works are laborious, 
but Harding's rocks fall from under his hand as if they had 
just crashed down the hill-side, flying on the instant into 
lovely form. In colour also he incomparably surpasses 
Stanfield, who is apt to verge upon mud, or be cold in his 
grey. The rich, lichenous, and changeful warmth, and 
delicate weathered greys of Harding's rock, illustrated as 



they are by the most fearless, firm, and unerring drawing, 
render his wild pieces of torrent shore the finest things, next 
to the work of Turner, in English foreground art. 

J. B. Pyne has very accurate knowledge of limestone 
rock, and expresses it clearly and forcibly ; but it is much 
to be regretted that this clever artist appears to be losing 
all sense of colour and is getting more and more mannered 
in execution, evidently never studying from nature except 
with the previous determination to Pynize everything.* 

8. Before passing to Turner, let us take one more glance 
at the foregrounds of the old masters, with reference, not 
to their management of rock, which is comparatively a rare 
component part of their foregrounds, but to the common 
soil which they were obliged to paint constantly, and 
whose forms and appearances are the same all over the 
world. A steep bank of loose earth of any kind, that has 
been at all exposed to the weather, contains in it, though 
it may not be three feet high, features capable of giving 

* A passage which I happened to see in an Essay of Mr. Pyne's, in the 
Art-Union, about nature's "foisting rubbish" upon the artist, suffi- 
ciently explains the cause of this decline. If Mr. Pyne will go to 
nature, as ah great men have done, and as all men who mean to be 
great must do, that is not merely to be helped, but to be taught by her ; 
and will once or twice take her gifts, without looking them in the 
mouth, he will most assuredly find — and I say this in no unkind or 
depreciatory feeling, for I should say the same of all artists who are in 
the habit of only sketching nature, and not studying her — that her worst 
is better than his best. I am quite sure that if Mr. Pyne, or any other 
painter who has hitherto been very careful in his choice of subject, will 
go into the next turnpike-road, and taking the first four trees that he 
comes to in the hedge, give them a day each, drawing them leaf for 
leaf, as far as may be, and even their smallest boughs, with as much 
care as if they were rivers, or an important map of a newly-surveyed 
country, he will find when he has brought them all home, that at least 
three out of the four are better than the best he ever invented. Compare 
Part III. Sect. I. Chap. III. § 12, 13 (the reference in the note ought 
to be Chap. XV. § 7.) 



high gratification to a careful observer. It is almost a 
fae-simile of a mountain slope of soft and decomposing 
rock ; it possesses nearly as much variety of character, 
and is governed by laws of organization no less rigid. It 
is furrowed in the first place by undulating lines, by the 
descent of the rain, little ravines, which are cut precisely 
at the same slope as those of the mountain, and leave 
ridges scarcely less graceful in their contour, and beauti- 
fully sharp in their chiselling. Where a harder knot of 
ground or a stone occurs, the earth is washed from be- 
neath it, and accumulates above it, and there we have a 
little precipice connected by a sweeping, curve at its sum- 
mit with the great slope, and casting a sharp dark sha- 
dow ; where the soil has been soft, it will probably be 
washed away underneath until it gives way, and leaves a 
jagged, hanging, irregular line of fracture ; and all these 
circumstances are explained to the eye in sunshine with 
the most delicious clearness; every touch of shadow being 
expressive of some particular truth of structure, and bear- 
ing witness to the symmetry into which the whole mass 
has been reduced. Where this operation has gone on 
long, and vegetation has assisted in softening outlines, we 
have oui* ground brought into graceful and irregular 
curves, of infinite variet}^, but yet always so connected 
with each other, and guiding to each other, that the eye 
never feels them as separate things, nor feels inclined to 
count them, nor perceives a likeness in one to another ; 
they are not repetitions of each 'other, but are different 
parts of one system. Each would be imperfect without 
the one next to it. 

9. Now it is all but impossible to express distinctly the 
particulars wherein this fine character of curve consists, 
and to show, in definite examples, what it is which makes 
one representation right, and another wrong. The ground 
of Ten iers, for instance, in No. 139 in the Dulwich Gallery, 



is an example of all that is wrong. It is a representation 
of the forms of shaken and disturbed soil, such as we 
should see here and there after an earthquake, or over the 
ruins of fallen buildings. It has not one contour nor 
character of the soil of nature, and yet I can scarcely tell 
you why, except that the curves repeat one another, and 
are monotonous in their now, and are unbroken by the 
delicate angle and momentary pause with which the feel- 
ing of nature would have touched them, and are disunited ; 
so that the eye leaps from this to that, and does not pass 
from one to the other without being able to stop, drawn on 
by the continuity of line; neither is there any undulation 
or furrowing of watermark, nor in one spot or atom of the 
whole surface, is there distinct explanation of form to the 
eye by means of a determined shadow. All is mere 
sweeping of the brush over the surface with various ground 
colours, without a single indication of character by means 
of real shade. 

10. Let not these points be deemed unimportant ; the 
truths of form in common ground are quite as valuable 
(let me anticipate myself for a moment), quite as beautiful, 
as any others which nature presents, and in lowland land- 
scape they present us with a species of line which it is 
quite impossible to obtain in any other way, — the alter- 
nately flowing and broken line of mountain scenery, which, 
however small its scale, is always of inestimable value, 
contrasted with the repetitions of organic form which we 
are compelled to give in vegetation. A really great artist 
dwells on every inch of exposed soil with care and delight, 
and renders it one of the most essential, speaking and 
pleasurable parts of his composition. And be it remem- 
bered, that the man who, in the most conspicuous part of 
his foreground, will violate truth with every stroke of the 
pencil, is not likely to be more careful in other parts of it ; 
and that in the little bits which I fix upon for animad- 



version, I am not pointing out solitary faults, but only the 
most characteristic examples of the falsehood which is 
everywhere, and which renders the whole foreground one 
mass of contradictions and absurdities. 

11. Nor do I myself see wherein the great difference lies 
between a master and a novice, except in the rendering of 
the finer truths, of which I am at present speaking. To han- 
dle the brush freely, and to paint grass and weeds with ac- 
curacy enough to satisfy the eye, are accomplishments 
which a year or two's practice will give any man ; but to 
trace among the grass and weeds those mysteries of inven- 
tion and combination, by which nature appeals to the intel- 
lect — to render the delicate fissure, and descending curve, 
and undulating shadow of the mouldering soil, with gentle 
and fine finger, like the touch of the rain itself — to find even 
in all that appears most trifling or contemptible, fresh evi- 
dence of the constant working of the Divine power " for 
glory and for beauty," and to teach it and proclaim it to 
the unthinking and the unregardless — this, as it is the 
peculiar province and faculty of the master-mind, so it is 
the peculiar duty which is demanded of it by the Deity. 

12. It would take me no reasonable nor endurable time, 
if I were to point out one half of the various kinds and 
classes of falsehood which the inventive faculties of the 
old masters succeeded in originating, in the drawing of 
foregrounds. It is not this man, nor that man, nor one 
school nor another ; all agree in entire repudiation of 
everything resembling facts, and in the high degree of 
absurdity of what they substitute for them. Even Cuvp, 
who evidently saw and studied near nature, as an artist 
should do — not fishing for idealities, but taking what 
nature gave him, and thanking her for it — even he appears 
to have supposed that the drawing of the earth might be 
trusted to chance or imagination, and, in consequence, 
Btrews his banks with lumps of dough, instead of stones. 



13. Perhaps, however, the " beautiful foregrounds " of 
Claude afford the most remarkable instances of childishness 
and incompetence of all. That of his morning landscape, 
with the large group of trees and high single-arched 
bridge, in the National Gallery, is a pretty fair example 
of the kind of error which he constantly falls into. I 
will not say anything of the agreeable composition of the 
three banks, rising one behind another from the water. I 
merely affirm that it amounts to a demonstration that all 
three were painted in the artist's study, without any ref- 
erence to nature whatever. In fact, there is quite enough 
intrinsic evidence in each of them to prove this, seeing 
that what appears to be meant for vegetation upon them, 
amounts to nothing more than a green stain on their sur- 
faces, the more evidently false because the leaves of the 
trees twenty yards farther off are all perfectly visible 
and distinct ; and that the sharp lines with which each 
cuts against that beyond it, are not only such as crumb- 
ling earth could never show or assume, but are main- 
tained through their whole progress ungraduated, un- 
changing, and unaffected by any of the circumstances 
of varying shade to which every one of nature's lines is 
inevitably subjected. In fact, the whole arrangement is 
the impotent' struggle of a tyro to express, by successive 
edges, that approach of earth which he finds himself in- 
capable of expressing by the drawing of the surface. 
Claude wished to make you understand that the edge of 
his pond came nearer and nearer : he had probably often 
tried to do this with an unbroken bank, or a bank only 
varied by the delicate and harmonized anatomy of nature ; 
and he had found that owing to his total ignorance of the 
laws of perspective, such efforts on his part invariably 
ended in his reducing his pond to the form of a round O, 
and making it look perpendicular. Much comfort and 
solace of mind, in such unpleasant circumstances, may bj 


derived from instantlv dividing the obnoxious bank into 
a number of successive promontories, and developing their 
edges with completeness and intensity. Every school- 
girl's drawing, as soon as her mind had arrived at so great 
a degree of enlightenment as to perceive that perpendicu- 
lar water is objectionable, will supply us with edifying in- 
stances of this unfailing resource ; and this foreground of 
Claude's is only one out of the thousand cases in which 
he has been reduced to it. 

. 14. And if it be asked, how the proceeding differs from 
that of nature, I have only to point to nature herself, as 
she is drawn in the foreground of Turner's Mercury and 
Argus, a case precisely similar to Claude's, of earthy crum- 
bling banks cut away by water. It will be found in this 
picture (and I am now describing nature's work and Turner's 
with the same words) that the whole distance is given by 
retirement of solid surface; and that if ever an edge is ex- 
pressed, it is only felt for an instant, and then lost again; 
so that the eye cannot stop at it and prepare for a long 
jump to another like it, but is guided over it, and round it, 
into the hollow beyond ; and thus the whole receding mass 
of ground, going back for more than a quarter of a mile, is 
made completely one — no part of it is separated from the 
rest for an instant — it is all united, and its modulations 
are members, not divisions of its mass. But those modu- 
lations are countless — heaving here, sinking there — now 
swelling, now mouldering, now blending, now breaking — 
giving, in fact, to the foreground of this universal master, 
precisely the same qualities which we have before seen in 
his hills, as Claude gave to his foreground precisely the 
same qualities which we had before found in his hills, — 
infinite unity, in the one case, finite division in the other. 

15. Let us, then, having now obtained some insight into 
the principles of the old masters in foreground drawing, 
contrast them throughout with those of our great modern 



master. The investigation of the excellence of Turner's 
drawing becomes shorter and easier as we proceed, because 
the great distinctions between his work and that of other 
painters are the same, whatever the object or subject may 
be ; and after once showing the general characters of the 
particular specific forms under consideration, we have only 
to point, in the works of Turner, to the same principles of 
infinity and variety in carrying them out, which we have 
before insisted upon with reference to other subjects. 

16. The Upper Fall of the Tees, Yorkshire, engraved in 
the England series, may be given as a standard example of 
rock-drawing to be opposed to the work of Salvator. "We 
have, in the great face of rock which divides the two 
streams, horizontal lines which indicate the real direction 
of the strata, and these same lines are given in ascending 
perspective all along the precipice on the right. But we 
see also on the central precipice fissures absolutely vertical, 
which inform us of one series of joints dividing these hori- 
zontal strata ; and the exceeding smoothness and evenness 
of the precipice itself inform us that it has been caused by 
a great separation of substance in the. direction of another 
more important line of joints, running in a direction across 
the river. Accordingly, we see on the left that the whole 
summit of the precipice is divided again and again by this 
great series of joints into vertical beds, which lie against 
each other with their sides towards us, and are traversed 
downwards by the same vertical lines traceable on the face 
of the central cliff. Now, let me direct especial attention 
to the way in which Turner has marked over this general 
and grand unity of structure, the modifying effects of the 
weather and the torrent. Observe how the whole surface 
of the hill above the precipice on the left* is brought into 

* In the light between the waterfall and the large dark mass on the 
extreme right. 



one smooth, unbroken curvature of gentle convexity, until 
it comes to the edge of the precipice, and then, just on the 
angle (compare 2.), breaks into the multiplicity of fissure 
which marks its geological structure. Observe how every 
one of the separate blocks, into which it divides, is rounded 
and convex in its salient edges turned to the weather, and 
how every one of their inward angles is marked clear and 
sharp by the determined shadow and transparent reflex. 
Observe how exquisitely graceful are all the curves of the 
convex surfaces, indicating that every one of them has 
been modelled by the winding and undulating of running 
water ; and how gradually they become steeper as they 
descend, until they are torn down into the face of the 
precipice. Finally, observe the exquisite variety of all the 
touches which express fissure or shade; every one in 
varying directions and with new forms, and yet throughout 
indicating that perfect parallelism which at once explained 
to us the geology of the rock, and falling into one grand 
mass, treated with the same simplicity of light and shade 
which a great portrait painter adopts in treating the fea- 
tures of the human face ; which, though each has its own 
separate chiaroscuro, never disturb the wholeness and 
grandeur of the head, considered as one ball or mass. So 
here, one deep and marked piece of shadow indicates the 
greatest proximity of the rounded mass ; and from this 
every shade becomes fainter and fainter, until all are lost 
in the obscurity and dimness of the hanging precipice and 
the shattering fall. Again, see how the same fractures 
just upon the edge take place with the central cliff above 
the right-hand fall, and how the force of the water is told 
us by the confusion of debris accumulated in its channel. 
In fact, the great quality about Turner's drawings which 
more especially proves their transcendent truth, is the 
capability they afford us of reasoning on past and future 
phenomena, just as if we had the actual rocks before us; 



for this indicates not that one truth is given, nor another, 
not that a pretty or interesting morsel has been selected 
here and there, but that the whole truth has been given, 
with all the relations of its parts ; so that we can pick and 
choose our points of pleasure or of thought for ourselves, 
and reason upon the whole with the same certainty which 
we should after having climbed and hammered over the 
rocks bit by bit. With this drawing before him, a geolo- 
gist could give a lecture upon the whole system of aqueous 
erosion, and speculate as safely upon the past and future 
states of this very spot, as if he were standing and getting 
wet with the spray. He would tell you, at once, that the 
waterfall was in a state of rapid recession; that it had 
once formed a wide cataract just at the spot where the 
figure is sitting on the heap of debris ; and that when it 
was there, part of it came down by the channel on the left, 
its bed being still marked by the delicately chiselled lines 
of fissure. He would tell you that the foreground had 
also once been the top of the fall, and that the vertical 
fissures on the right of it were evidently then the channel 
of a side stream. He would tell you that the fall was 
then much lower than it is now, and that being lower, it 
had less force, and cut itself a narrower bed ; and that 
the spot where it reached the higher precipice is marked 
by the expansion of the wide basin which its increased 
violence has excavated, and by the gradually increasing 
concavity of the rocks below, which we see have been 
hollowed into a complete vault by the elastic bound of the 
water. But neither he nor I could tell you with what 
exquisite and finished marking of every fragment and 
particle of soil or rock, both in its own structure and the 
evidence it bears of these great influences, the whole of 
this is confirmed and carried out. 

17. With this inimitable drawing we may compare the 
rocks in the foreground of the Llanthony. These latter 



are not divided by joints, but into thin horizontal and 
united beds, which the torrent in its times of flood has 
chiselled away, leaving one exposed under another, with 
the sweeping marks of its eddies upon their edges. And 
here we have an instance of an exception to a general 
rule, occasioned by particular and local action. We have 
seen that the action of water over any surface universally, 
whether falling, as in rain, or sweeping, as a torrent, in- 
duces convexity of form. But when we have rocks in situ 
as here, exposed at their edges to the violent action of an 
eddy, that eddy will cut a vault or circular space for 
itself (as we saw on a large scale with the high water- 
fall), and we have a concave curve interrupting the 
general contours of the rock. And thus Turner (while 
every edge of his masses is rounded, and, the moment we 
rise above the level of the water, all is convex) has inter- 
rupted the great contours of his strata with concave 
curves, precisely where the last waves of the torrent have 
swept against the exposed edges of the beds. Nothing 
could more strikingly prove the depth of that knowledge 
by which every touch of this consummate artist is regu- 
lated, that universal command of subject which never acts 
for a moment on anything conventional or habitual, but 
fills every corner and space with new evidence of knowl- 
edge, and fresh manifestation of thought. 

18. The Lower Fall of the Tees, with the chain-bridge, 
might serve us for an illustration of all the properties and 
forms of vertical beds of rocks, as the upper fall has of 
horizontal ; but we pass rather to observe, in detached 
pieces of foreground, the particular modulation of parts 
which cannot be investigated in the grand combinations of 
general mass. 

The blocks of stone which form the foreground of the 
Ulles water are, I believe, the finest example in the world 
of the finished drawing of rocks which have been sub- 



jected to violent aqueous action. Their surfaces seem to 
palpitate from the fine touch of the waves, and every part 
of them is rising or falling in soft swell or gentle depres- 
sion, though the eye can scarcely trace the fine shadows 
on which this chiselling of the surface depends. And 
with all this, every block of them has individual charac- 
ter, dependent on the expression of the angular lines of 
which its contours were first formed, and which is retained 
and felt through all the modulation and melting of the 
water-worn surface. And what is done here in the most 
important part of the picture, to be especially attractive 
to the eye, is often done by Turner with lavish and over- 
whelming power, in the accumulated debris of a wide 
foreground, strewed with the ruin of ages, as, for in- 
stance, in the Junction of the Greta and Tees, where he 
has choked the torrent bed with a mass of shattered rock, 
thrown down with the profusion and carelessness of 
nature herself ; and yet every separate block is a study 
(and has evidently been drawn from nature), chiselled 
and varied in its parts, as if it were to be the chief mem- 
ber of a separate subject; yet without ever losing, in a 
single instance, its subordinate position, or occasioning, 
throughout the whole accumulated multitude, the repeti- 
tion of a single line. 

I consider cases like these, of perfect finish and new 
conception, applied and exerted in the drawing of every 
member of a confused and almost countlessly divided 
system j about the most wonderful, as well as the most 
characteristic passages of Turner's foregrounds. It is 
done not less marvellously, though less distinctly, in the 
individual parts of all his broken ground, as in examples 
like these of separate blocks. The articulation of such a 
passage as the nearest bank, in the picture we have 
already spoken of at so great length, the Upper Fall of 
the Tees, might serve us for a day's study, if we were to 



go into it part by part ; bat it is impossible to do this, 
except with the pencil ; we can only repeat the same 
general observations, about eternal change and unbroken 
unity, and tell yon to observe how the eye is kept 
throughout on solid and retiring surfaces, instead of 
being thrown, as by Claude, on flat and equal edges. 
You cannot find a single edge in Turner's work ; you are 
everywhere kept upon round surfaces, and you go back 
on these — you cannot tell how — never taking a leap, but 
progressing imperceptibly along the unbroken bank, till 
you find yourself a quarter of a mile into the picture, 
beside the figure at the bottom of the waterfall. 

19. Finally, the bank of earth on the right of the grand 
drawing of Penmaen llawr. may be taken as the standard 
of the representation of soft soil modelled by descending 
rain ; and may serve to show us how exquisite in character 
are the resultant lines, and how full of every species of 
attractive and even sublime quality, if we only are wise 
enough, not to scorn the study of them. The higher the 
mind, it may be taken as a universal rule, the less it will 
scorn that which appears to be small or unimportant ; and 
the rank of a painter may always be determined by ob- 
serving how he uses, and with what respect he views the 
minutiae of nature. Greatness of mind is not shown by 
admitting small things, but by making small things great 
under its influence. He who can take no interest in what 
is small, will take false interest in what is great ; he 
who cannot make a bank sublime, will make a mountain 

20. It is not until we have made ourselves acquainted with 
these simple facts of form, as they are illustrated by the 
slighter works of Turner, that we can become at all com- 
petent to enjoy the combination of all, in such works as 
the Mercury and Argus, or Bay of Baise, in which the 
mind is at first bewildered by the abundant outpouring 



of the master's knowledge. Often as I have paused be- 
fore these noble works, I never felt on returning to them 
as if I had ever seen them before ; for their abundance is 
so deep and various that the mind, according to its own 
temper at the time of seeing, perceives some new series of 
truths rendered in them, just as it would on revisiting a 
natural scene ; and detects new relations and associations 
of these truths which set the whole picture in a different 
light at every return to it. And this effect is especially 
caused by the management of the foreground; for the 
more marked objects of the picture may be taken one by 
one, and thus examined and known ; but the foregrounds 
of Turner are so united in all their parts that the eye can- 
not take them by divisions, but is guided from stone to 
stone, and bank to bank, discovering truths totally differ- 
ent in aspect, according to the direction in which it ap- 
proaches them, and approaching them in a different direc- 
tion, and viewing them as a part of a new system, every 
time that it begins its course at a new point. 

21. One lesson, however, we are invariably taught by all, 
however approached or viewed, — that the work of the Great 
Spirit of nature is as deep and unapproachable in the lowest 
as in the noblest objects, — that the Divine mind is as visible 
in its full energy of operation on every lowly bank and 
mouldering stone, as in the lifting of the pillars of heaven, 
and settling the foundation of the earth ; and that to the 
rightly perceiving mind, there is the same infinity, the 
same majesty, the same power, the same unity, and the 
same perfection, manifest in the casting of the clay as in 
the scattering of the cloud, in the mouldering of the dust 
as in the kindling of the day-star. 1 M. P., 305. 

II. The botanical Foregrounds of the Ancients. — The 
great masters of Italy, a 1 most without exception, and Titian 
perhaps more than any other (for he had the highest 



knowledge of landscape), are in the constant habit of ren- 
dering every detail of their foregrounds with the most 
laborious botanical fidelity ; witness the " Bacchus and 
Ariadne," in which the foreground is occupied by the 
common blue iris, the aquilegia, and the wild rose ; every 
stamen of which latter is given, while the blossoms and 
leaves of the columbine (a difficult flower to draw) have 
been studied with the most exquisite accuracy. The fore- 
grounds of Raffaelie's two cartoons — " The Miraculous 
Draught of the Fishes " and " The Charge to Peter " — are 
covered with plants of the common sea-colewort, of which 
the sinuated leaves and clustered blossoms would have 
exhausted the patience of any other artist, but have ap- 
peared worthy of prolonged and thoughtful labour to the 
great mind of Kaffaelle. Pref. 2d Ed. 1 M. P., xxvii. 




1. Conventional or Mediaeval Backgrounds are of a very 
formal kind. The painters took an infinite delight in 
drawing pleasant flowers, always articulating and outlining 
them completely ; the sky is always blue, having only a 
few delicate white clouds in it, and in the distance are 
blue mountains, very far away, if the landscape is to be 
simply delightful; but brought near, and divided into 
quaint overhanging rocks, if it is intended to be medita- 
tive, or a place of saintly seclusion. But the whole of it 
always — flowers, brooks, castles, clouds, and rocks — subor- 
dinate to the figures in the foreground, and painted for no 
other end than that of explaining their adventures and 

2. Before the idea of Landscape had been thus far de- 
veloped, the representations of the background had been 
purely typical; the objects which had to be shown in 
order to explain the scene of the event, being firmly out- 
lined, usually on a pure golden or chequered background, 
not on sky. The change from the golden background (char- 
acteristic of the finest thirteenth-century work) and the 
coloured chequer (which in like manner belongs to the 
finest fourteenth) to the blue sky, gradated to the horizon, 
takes place early in the fifteenth century, and is the crisis 
of change in the spirit of mediaeval art. Strictly speaking, 
we might divide the art of Christian times into two great 
masses — Symbolic or conventional, and Imitative, the sym- 
bolic reaching from the earliest periods down to the close 
of the fourteenth century, and the imitative from that 



close to the present time ; and, then, the most important 
circumstance indicative of the culminating point, or turn of 
tide, would be this of the change from chequered back- 
ground to sky background. The uppermost figure, Plate 
I. (frontispiece), representing the tree of knowledge, taken 
from a somewhat late thirteenth-century manuscript, will 
at once illustrate the mode of introducing the chequer 

3. The moment sky is introduced (and it is curious how 
perfectly it is done at once, many manuscripts presenting 
in alternate pages chequered backgrounds and deep blue 
skies exquisitely gradated to the horizon) the moment the 
sky is introduced, the spirit of art becomes ever more 
changed, and gradually it proposes imitation instead of 
symbolism, more and more as an end. 3 M. P., 209. 

II. Imitative Backgrounds. — It will be remembered that 
our mediaeval landscape was in a state of severe formality, 
and perfect subordination to the interest of figure subject. 
I will now rapidly trace the mode and progress of its 

1. The formalized conception of scenery remained little 
altered until the time of Raphael, being only better exe- 
cuted as the knowledge of art advanced ; that is to say, 
though the trees were still stiff, and often set one on each 
side of the principal figures, their colour and relief on the 
sky were exquisitely imitated, and all groups of near leaves 
and flowers drawn with the most tender care and studious 
botanical accuracy. The better the subjects were painted, 
however, the more logically absurd they became : a back- 
ground wrought in Chinese confusion of towers and rivers 
was in early times passed over carelessly, and forgiven for 
the sake of its pleasant colour; but it appealed somewhat 
too far to imaginative indulgence when Ghirlandajo drew 
an exquisite perspective view of Venice and her lagoons 



behind an Adoration of the Magi ;* and the impossibly 
small boats which might be pardoned in a mere illumina- 
tion, representing the miraculous draught of fishes, became, 
whatever may be said to the contrary, inexcusably absurd 
in Raphael's fully realized landscape; so as at once to 
destroy the credibility of every circumstance of the event. 

2. A certain charm, however, attached itself to many 
forms of this landscape, owing to their very unnaturalness, 
as I have endeavoured to explain already in the last chapter 
of the second volume, §§ 9 to 12 ; noting, however, there, 
that it was in nowise to be made a subject of imitation ; 
a cob elusion which I have since seen more and more 
ground for holding finally. The longer I think over the 
subject, the more I perceive that the pleasure we take in 
such unnatural landscapes is intimately connected with 
our habit of regarding the New Testament as a beautiful 
poem, instead of a statement of plain facts. He who 
believes thoroughly that the events are true will expect, 
and ought to expect, real olive copse behind real Madonna, 
and no sentimental absurdities in either. 

3. Nor am I at all sure how far the delight which we take 
(when I say we, I mean, in general, lovers of old sacred 
art) in such quaint landscape, arises from its peculiar false- 
hood, and how far from its peculiar truth. For as it falls 
into certain errors more boldly, so, also, what truth it states, 
it states more firmly than subsequent work. No engrav- 
ings, that I know, render the backgrounds of sacred 
pictures with sufficient care to enable the reader to judge 
of this matter unless before the works themselves. I have, 
therefore, engraved, on the opposite page, a bit of the 
background of Raphael's Holy Family, in the Tribune of 
the Uffizii, at Florence. I copied the trees leaf for leaf, 
and the rest of the work with the best care I could ; the 

* The picture is in the Uffizii of Florence. 



engraver, Mr. Armytage, has admirably rendered the 
delicate atmosphere, which partly veils the distance. Now 
I do not know how far it is necessary to such pleasure as 
we receive from this 
landscape, that the trees 
should be both so straight 
and formal in stem, and 
should have branches no 
thicker than threads ; or 
that the outlines of the 
distant hills should ap- 
proximate so closely to 
those on any ordinary 
Wedgewood's china pat- 
tern. I know that, on the 
contrary, a great part of 
the pleasure arises from 
the sweet expression of 
air and sunshine; from 
the traceable resemblance 
of the city and tower to 
Florence and Fesole ; 
from the fact that, though 
the boughs are too thin, 
the lines of ramification 
are true and beautiful ; 
and from the expression of 
continually varied form 
in the clusters of leafage. 
And although all lovers 
of sacred art would 
shrink in horror from the idea of substituting for such a 
landscape a bit of Cuyp or Eubens, I do not think that the 
horror they feel is because Cuyp and Eubens's landscape 
is truer ^ but because it is coarser and more vulgar in asso- 

Fig. 21. 



ciated idea than Raphael's ; and I think it possible that the 
true forms of hills, and true thicknesses of boughs, might 
be tenderly stolen into this background of Raphael's with- 
out giving offence to any one. 

4. Take a somewhat more definite instance. The rock in 
Fig. 21, on p. 325, is one put by Ghirlandajo into the back- 
ground of his Baptism of Christ. I have no doubt Ghirlan- 
dajo's own rocks and trees are better, in several respects, 
than those here represented, since I have copied them from 
one of Lasinio's execrable engravings ; still, the harsh out- 
line, and generally stiff and uninventf ul blankness of the 
design are true enough, and characteristic of all rock-paint- 
ing of the period. In the plate opposite I have etched* 
the outline of a fragment of one of Turner's cliffs, out of 
his drawing of Bolton Abbey ; and it does not seem to me 
that, supposing them properly introduced in the composi- 
tion, the substitution of the soft natural lines for the hard 
unnatural ones would make Ghirlandajo' s background one 
whit less sacred. 

5. But be this as it may, the fact is, as ill luck would 
have it, that profanity of feeling, and skill in art, increased 
together, so that we do not find the backgrounds rightly 
painted till the figures become irreligious and feelingless ; 
and hence we associate necessarily the perfect landscape 
with want of feeling. The first great innovator was either 
Masaccio or Filippino Lippi : their works are so confused 
together in the Chapel of the Carmine, that I know not to 
whom I may attribute, — or whether, without being imme- 
diately quarrelled with, and contradicted, I may attribute 
to anybody, — the landscape background of the fresco of 
the Tribute Money. But that background, with one or 

* This etching is prepared for receiving mezzotint in the next volume ; 
it is therefore much heavier in line, especially in the water, than I 
should have made it, if intended to be complete as it is. 

9. The Shores of Wharfe. 



two other fragments in the same chapel, is far in advance 
of all other work I have seen of the period, in expression 
of the rounded contours and large slopes of hills, and the 
association of their summits with the clouds. The opposite 
engraving will give some better idea of its character than 
can be gained from the outlines commonly published ; 
though the dark spaces, which in the original are deep 
blue, come necessarily somewhat too harshly on the eye 
when translated into light and shade. I shall have occa- 
sion to speak with greater speciality of this background in 
examining the forms of hills ; meantime, it is only as an 
isolated work that it can be named in the history of pic- 
torial progress, for Masaccio died too young to carry out 
his purposes ; and the men around him were too ignorant 
of landscape to understand or take advantage of the little 
he had done. Raphael, though he borrowed from him in 
the human figure, never seems to have been influenced by 
his landscape, and retains either, as in Plate 8, the 
upright formalities of Perugino; or, by way of being 
natural, expands his distances into flattish flakes of hill, 
nearly formless, as in the backgrounds of the Charge to 
Peter and Draught of Fishes ; and thenceforward the 
Tuscan and Roman schools grew more and more artificial, 
and lost themselves finally under round-headed niches and 
Corinthian porticos. 

6. It needed, therefore, the air of the northern mountains 
and of the sea to brace the hearts of men to the develop- 
ment of the true landscape schools. I sketched by chance 
one evening the line of the Apennines from the ramparts 
of Parma, and I have put the rough note of it, and the sky 
that was over it, in Plate 11, and next to this (Plate 12) 
a moment of sunset, behind the Euganean hills at Venice. 
They have some interest here as types of the kind of scenes 
which were daily set before the eyes of Correggio and 
Titian, and of the sweet free spaces of sky through which 



rose and fell, to them, the coloured rays of the morning and 

7. And they are connected, also, with the forms of land- 
scape adopted by the Lombardic masters, in a very curious 
way. We noticed that the Flemings, educated entirely in 
flat land, seemed to be always contented with the scenery 
it supplied ; and we should naturally have expected that 
Titian and Correggio, living in the midst of the levels of 
the lagoons, and of the plain of Lombardy, would also 
have expressed, in their backgrounds, some pleasure in 
such level scenery, associated,- of course, with the sub- 
limity of the far-away Apennine, Euganean, or Alp. 
But not a whit. The plains of mulberry and maize, of 
sea and shoal, by which they were surrounded, never occur 
in their backgrounds but in cases of necessity ; and both 
of them, in all their important landscapes, bury them- 
selves in wild wood ; Correggio delighting to relieve with 
green darkness of oak and ivy the golden hair and snowy 
flesh of his figures ; and Titian, whenever the choice of a 
scene was in his power, retiring to the narrow glens and 
forests of Cadore. 

8. Of the vegetation introduced by both, I shall have to 
speak at length in the course of the chapters on Foliage ; 
meantime I give, in Plate 13, one of Titian's slightest bits 
of background, from one of the frescoes in the little 
chapel behind St. Antonio, at Padua, which may be com- 
pared more conveniently than any of his more elaborate 
landscapes with the purist work from Raphael. For in 
both these examples the trees are equally slender and 
delicate, only the formality of mediaeval art is, by Titian, 
entirely abandoned, and the old conception of the aspen 
grove and meadow done away with for ever. We are 
now far from cities : the painter takes true delight in the 
desert ; the trees grow wild and free ; the sky also has 
lost its peace, and is writhed into folds of motion, closely 



impendent upon earth, and somewhat threatening, through 
its solemn light. 

9. Although, however, this example is characteristic of 
Titian in its wildness, it is not so in its looseness. It is 
only in the distant backgrounds of the slightest work, or 
when he is in a hurry, that Titian is vague : in all his near 
and studied work he completes every detail with scrupu- 
lous care. The next Plate, 14, a background of Tintoret's, 
from his picture of the Entombment at Parma, is more 
entirely characteristic of the Venetians. Some mistakes 
made in the reduction of my drawing during the course 
of engraving have cramped the curves of the boughs and 
leaves, of which I will give the true outline further on ; 
meantime the subject, which is that described in § 16 of 
the chapter on Penetrative Imagination, Yol. II., will 
just as well answer the purpose of exemplifying the Vene- 
tian love of gloom and wildness, united with perfect 
definition of detail. Every leaf and separate blade of 
grass is drawn ; but observe how the blades of grass are 
broken, how completely the aim at expression of faultless- 
ness and felicity has been withdrawn , as contrary to the 
laws of the existent world. 

10. From this great Venetian school of landscape Tur- 
ner received much important teaching — almost the only 
healthy teaching which he owed to preceding art. The 
designs of the Liber Stucliorum are founded first on 
nature, but in many cases modified by forced imitation of 
Claude, and fond imitation of Titian. All the worst and 
feeblest studies in the book — as the pastoral with the 
nymph playing the tambourine, that with the long bridge 
seen through trees, and with the flock of goats on the 
walled road — owe the principal part of their imbecilities 
to Claude ; another group (Solway Moss, Peat Bog, 
Lauffenbourg, &c.) is taken with hardly any modification 
by pictorial influence, straight from nature; and the finest 



works in the book— the Grande Chartreuse, Rizpah, Jason, 
Cephalus, and one or two more — are strongly under 
the influence of Titian. 

II. The Yenetian school of landscape expired with 
Tintoret, in the year 1594; and. the sixteenth century 
closed, like a grave, over the great art of the world. 
There is no entirely sincere or great art in the seven- 
teenth century. Rubens and Rembrandt are its two 
greatest men, both deeply stained by the errors and affec- 
tations of their age. The influence of the Venetians 
hardly extended to them ; the tower of the Titianesque 
art fell southwards ; and on the dust of its ruins grew 
various art-weeds, such as Domenichino and the Carraccis. 
Their landscape, which may in few words be accurately 
defined as " Scum of Titian," possesses no single merit, 
nor any ground for the forgiveness of demerit ; they are 
to be named only as the link through which the Venetian 
influence came dimly down to Claude and Salvator. 

3 M. P., 319-324: 

III. 1. Light Backgrounds. — I think if there be any one 
grand division, by which it is at all possible to set the pro- 
ductions of painting, so far as their mere plan or system is 
concerned, on our right and left hands, it is this of light 
and dark background, of heaven light, or of object light. 
For I know not any truly great painter of any time who 
manifests not the most intense pleasure in the luminous 
space of his backgrounds, or whoever sacrifices this plea- 
sure where the nature of his subject admits of its attain- 
ment, as on the other hand I know not that the habitual 
use of dark backgrounds can be shown as having ever 
been co-existent with pure or high feeling, and, except in 
the case of Rembrandt (and then under peculiar circum- 
stances only), with any high power of intellect. It is 
however necessary carefully to observe the following 
modifications of this broad principle. 



2. The absolute necessity, for such indeed I consider it, 
is of no more than such a mere luminous distant point as 
may give to the feelings a species of escape from all the 
finite objects about them. There is a spectral etching of 
Rembrandt, a presentation of Christ in the Temple, where 
the figure of a robed priest stands glaring by its gems out 
of the gloom, holding a crosier. Behind it there is a 
subdued window light seen in the opening between two 
columns, without which the impressiveness of the whole 
subject would, I think, be incalculably brought down. I 
cannot tell whether I am at present allowing too much 
weight to my own fancies and predilections, but without 
so much escape into the outer air and open heaven as this, 
I can take permanent pleasure in no picture. 

3. And I think I am supported in this feeling by the 
unanimous practice, if not the confessed opinion, of all 
artists. The painter of portrait is unhappy without his 
conventional white stroke under the sleeve, or beside the 
arm-chair ; the painter of interiors feels like a caged bird 
unless he can throw a window open, or set the door ajar; 
the landscapist dares not lose himself in forest without a 
gleam of light under its farthest branches, nor ventures 
out in rain unless he may somewhere pierce to a better 
promise in the distance, or cling to some closing gap of 
variable blue above ; — escape, hope, infinity, by whatever 
conventionalism sought, the desire is the same in all, the 
instinct constant, it is no mere point of light that is wanted 
in the etching of Rembrandt above instanced, a gleam of 
armour or fold of temple curtain would have been utterly 
valueless, neither is it liberty, for though we cut down 
hedges and level hills, and give what waste and plain we 
choose, on the right hand and the left, it is all comfortless 
and undesired, so long as we cleave not a way of escape 
forward ; and however narrow and thorny and difficult 
the nearer path, it matters not, so only that the clouds 



open for us at its close. Neither will any amount of 
beauty in nearer form make us content to stay with it, so 
long as we are shut down to that alone, nor is any form so 
cold or so hurtful but that we may look upon it with 
kindness, so only that it rise against the infinite hope of 
light beyond. The reader can follow out the analogies of 
this unassisted. 

4. But although this narrow portal of escape be all that 
is absolutely necessary, I think that the dignity of the 
painting increases with the extent and amount of the ex- 
pression. With the earlier and mightier painters of Italy, 
the practice is commonly to leave their distance of pure 
and open sky, of such simplicity, that it in nowise shall 
interfere with or draw the attention from the interest of 
the figures, and of such purity, that, especially towards the 
horizon, it shall be in the highest degree expressive of the 
infinite space of heaven. I do not mean to say that they 
did this with any occult or metaphysical motives. They 
did it, I think, with the child-like, unpretending simplicity 
of all earnest men ; they did what they loved and felt ; 
they sought what the heart naturally seeks, and gave what 
it most gratefully receives ; and I look to' them as in 
all points of principle (not, observe, of knowledge or 
empirical attainment) as the most irrefragable authorities, 
precisely on account of the child-like innocence, which 
never deemed itself authoritative, but acted upon desire, 
and not upon dicta, and sought for sympathy, not for 

5. And so we find the same simple and sweet treatment, 
the open sky, the tender, unpretending, horizontal Avhite 
clouds, the far winding and abundant landscape, in Giotto, 
Taddeo, Gaddi, Laurati, Angelico, Benozzo, Ghirlandajo, 
Francia, Perugino, and the young Paffaelle, the first 
symptom of conventionality appearing in Perugino, who. 
though with intense feeling of light and colour he carried 



the glory of his luminous distance far beyond all his pre- 
decessors, began at the same time to use a somewhat 
morbid relief of his figures against the upper sky. Thus 
in the Assumption of the Florentine Academy, in that of 
l'Annunziata ; and of the Gallery of Bologna, in all which 
pictures the lower portions are incomparably the finest, 
owing to the light distance behind the heads. Raffaelle, 
in his fall, betrayed the faith he had received from his 
father and his master, and substituted for the radiant sky 
of the Madonna del Cardellino, the chamber wall of the 
Madonna della Sediola, and the brown wainscot of the 
Baldacchino. Yet it is curious to observe how much of 
the dignity even of his later pictures depends on such 
portions as the green light of the lake, and sky behind the 
rocks, in the St. John of the Tribune, and how the re- 
painted distortion of the Madonna dell' Impannata, is 
redeemed into something like elevated character, merely 
by the light of the linen window from which it takes its 

6. That which by the Florentines was done in pure sim- 
plicity of heart, was done by the Yenetians with intense 
love of the colour and splendour of the sky itself, even to 
the frequent sacrificing of their subject to the passion 
of its distance. In Carpaccio, John Bellini, Giorgione, 
Titian, Yeronese, and Tintoret, the preciousness of the 
luminous sky, so far as it might be at all consistent with 
their subject, is nearly constant ; abandoned altogether in 
portraiture only, seldom even there, and never with 
advantage. Titian and Yeronese, who had less exalted 
feeling than the others, affording a few instances of ex- 
ception, the latter overpowering his silvery distances with 
foreground splendour, the other sometimes sacrificing them 
to a luscious fulness of colour, as in the Flagellation in the 
Louvre, by a comparison of which with the unequalled 
majesty of the Entombment, opposite, the whole power 



and applicability of the general principle may at once be 

7. But of the value of this mode of treatment there is a 
farther and more convincing proof than its adoption either 
by the innocence of the Florentine or the ardour of the 
Venetian, namely, that when retained or imitated from 
them by the landscape painters of the seventeenth century, 
when appearing in isolation from all other good, among 
the weaknesses and paltrinesses of Claude, the mannerisms 
of Gaspar, and the caricatures and brutalities of Salvator, 
it yet redeems and upholds all three, conquers all foulness 
by its purity, vindicates all folly by its dignity, and puts 
an uncomprehended power of permanent address to the 
human heart, upon the lips of the senseless and the pro- 

Now, although I doubt not that the general value of 
this treatment will be acknowledged by all lovers of art, 
it is not certain that the point to prove which I have 
brought it forward, will be as readily conceded, namely, the 

* In one of the smaller rooms of the Pitti palace, over the door, is a 
temptation of St. Anthony, by Salvator, wherein such power as the 
artist possessed is fully manifested, with little, comparatively, that is 
offensive. It is a vigorous and ghastly thought, in that kind of horror 
which is dependent on scenic effect, perhaps unrivalled, and I shall have , 
occasion to refer to it again in speaking of the powers of imagination. : 
I allude to it here, because the sky of the distance affords a remarkable 
instance of the power of light at present under discussion. It is formed 
with flakes of black cloud, with rents and openings of intense and lurid 
green, and at least half of the impressiveness of the picture depends on 
these openings. Close them, make the sky one mass of gloom, and the 
spectre will be awful no longer. It owes to the light of the distance 
both its size and its spirituality. The time would fail me if I were to 
name the tenth part of the pictures which occur to me whose vulgarity 
is redeemed by this circumstance alone, and yet let not the artist trust to 
such morbid and conventional use of it as may be seen in the common 
blue and yellow effectism of the present day. Of the value of modera- 
tion and simplicity in the use of this, as of all other sources of pleasur- 
able emotion, I shall presently have occasion to speak farther. 


13. Early Naturalism 



inherent power of all representations of infinity over the 
human heart / for there are, indeed, countless associations 
of pure and religious kind, which combine with each other 
to enhance the impression, when presented in this partic- 
ular form, whose power I neither deny nor am careful to 
distinguish, seeing that they all tend to the same Divine 
point and have reference to heavenly hopes ; delights they 
are in seeing the narrow, black, miserable earth fairly 
compared with the bright firmament, reachings forward 
unto the things that are before, and joy fulness in the 
apparent though unreachable nearness and promise of 
them. 2M.P.,41. 

8. Historical painters, accustomed to treat their back- 
grounds slightly and boldly, and feeling that any ap- 
proach to completeness of detail therein injures their 
pictures by interfering with its principal subject, naturally 
lose sight of the peculiar and intrinsic beauty of subordi- 
nate things. Compare the background of Sir Joshua's 
"Holy Family" with that of Xicolo Poussin's " Nursing 
of Jupiter." The first, owing to all neglect of botanical 
detail, has lost every atom of ideal character, and reminds 
us of an English fashionable flower-garden ; Poussin's, in 
which every vine-leaf is drawn with consummate skill 
and untiring diligence, produces not only a tree group of 
the most perfect grace and beauty, but one which, in its 
pure and simple truth, belongs to every age of nature, and 
adapts itself to the history of all time. 

As to the backgrounds of the 13th, 14th, 15th, and 
16th centuries, see Lecture 3d, on Architecture and Paint- 
ing, delivered at Edinburgh, Xov. 1853,, page 123. 



Distance and Outline. — In Turner's distances two 
facts are invariably given — transparency or filminess of 
mass, and excessive sharpness of edge. Sharpness of edge 
is the unfailing characteristic of distance. When the eye 
is really directed to the distance, melting lines are 
characteristic only of thick mist and vapour between us 
and the object, not of the removal of the object. If a 
thing has character upon its outline, as a tree for instance, 
or a mossy stone, the farther it is removed from us the 
sharper the outline of the whole mass will become, though 
the details will become confused. A tree fifty yards from 
us, taken as a mass, has a soft outline, because the leaves 
and interstices have some effect on the eye. But put it 
ten miles off against the sky, its outline will be so sharp 
that you cannot tell it from a rock. So in a mountain 
h've or six miles off, bushes, and heather, and roughness of 
knotty ground and rock, have still some effect on the eye, 
and by becoming confused and mingled soften the outline. 
But let the mountain be thirty miles off, and its edge will 
be as sharp as a knife. Let it, as in case of the Alps, be 
seventy or eighty miles off, and though it has become so 
faint that the morning mist is not so transparent, its out- 
line will be beyond all imitation for sharpness. Thus, 
then, the character of extreme distance is always exces- 
sive sharpness of edge. If you soften your outline, you 
either put mist between you and the object, and in doing 
so diminish your distance, for it is impossible you should 
see so far through mist as through clear air ; or if you 



keep an impression of clear air, you bring the object close 
to the observer, diminish its size in proportion, and if 
aerial colours, excessive blues, &c, be retained, represent 
an impossibility. Claude in his best expression of distance 
uses pure blue as ever came from the pallet, laid on thick; 
you cannot see through it, there is not the slightest vestige 
of transparency or nlminess about it, and its edge is soft 
and blunt. Hence if it be meant for near hills, the blue 
is impossible, and the want of details impossible in the 
clear atmosphere indicated through the whole picture. If 
it be meant for extreme distance the blunt edge is impos- 
sible, and the opacity is impossible. I do not know a 
single distance of the Italian school to which the observa- 
tion is not applicable, except, perhaps, one or two of 
Nicholas Poussin. In Turner's pictures, observe the ex- 
cessive sharpness of all the edges, almost amounting to 
lines, in the distance, while there is scarcely one decisive 
edge, in the foreground. 

Such, then, are the chief characteristics of the highest 
peaks and extreme distance of all hills, as far as the form 
of the rocks themselves, and the aerial appearances espe- 
cially belonging to them alone, are concerned. (For colour 
in distance, see p. 361.) 





1. I haye noticed the distinction between real aerial per- 
spective, and that overcharged contrast of light and shade 
by which the old masters obtained their deceptive effect ; 
and I show ed that, though inferior to them in the precise 
quality or tone of aerial colour, our great modern master is 
altogether more truthful in the expression of the propor- 
tionate relation of all his distances to one another. I am 
now about to examine those modes of expressing space, 
both in nature and art by far the most important, which 
are dependent, not on the relative hues of objects, but on 
the drawing of them : by far the most important, I say, 
because the most constant and certain ; for nature herself 
is not always aerial. Local effects are frequent which in- 
terrupt and violate the laws of aerial tone, and induce 
strange deception in our ideas of distance. I have often 
seen the summit of a snowy mountain look nearer than 
its base, owing to the perfect clearness of the upper air. 
But the drawing of objects, that is to say, the degree in 

* I am more than ever convinced of the truth of the position ad- 
vanced in the 8th paragraph ; nor can I at present assign any other 
cause, than that here given, for what is there asserted ; and yet I can- 
not but think that I have allowed far too much influence to a change 
so slight as that which we insensibly make in the focus of the eye : and 
that the real justification of Turner's practice, with respect to some of 
his foregrounds, is to be elsewhere sought. I leave the subject, there- 
fore, to the reader's consideration. 


which their details and parts are distinct or confused is 
an unfailing and certain criterion of their distance ; and 
if this be rightly rendered in a painting, we shall have 
genuine truth of space, in spite of many errors in aerial 
tone ; while, if this be neglected, all space will be de- 
stroyed, whatever dexterity of tint may be employed to 
conceal the defective drawing. 

2. First, then, it is to he noticed, that the eye, like any 
other lens, must have its focus altered, in order to convey 
a distinct image of ohjects at different distances; so that 
it is totally impossible to see distinctly, at the same mo- 
ment, ttco objects, one of which is much farther off than 
another. Of this, any one may convince himself in an in- 
stant. Look at the bars of your window-frame, so as to get 
a clear image of their lines and form, and you cannot, while 
your eye is fixed on them, perceive anything but the most 
indistinct and shadowy images of whatever objects may be 
visible beyond. But fix your eyes on those objects, so as 
to see them clearly, and though they are just beyond and 
apparently beside the window-frame, that frame will only 
be felt or seen as a vague, flitting, obscure interruption to 
whatever is perceived beyond it. A little attention di- 
rected to this fact will convince every one of its univer- 
sality, and prove beyond dispute that objects at unequal 
distances cannot be seen together, not from the interven- 
tion of air or mist, but from the impossibility of the rays 
proceeding from both converging to the same focus, so 
that the whole . impression, either of one or the other, 
must necessarily be confused, indistinct, and inadequate. 

3. But, be it observed (and I have only to request that 
whatever I say may be tested by immediate experiment) the 
difference of focus necessary is greatest within the first 
five hundred yards, and therefore, though it is totally im- 
possible to see an object ten yards from the eye, and one a 
quarter of a mile beyond it, at the same moment, it is per- 



fectly possible to see one a quarter of a mile off, and oiig 
rive miles beyond it, at the same moment. The conse- 
quence of this is, practically, that in a real .landscape, we 
can see the whole of what would he called the middle dis- 
tance and distance together, with facility and clearness : 
but while we do so we can see nothing in the foreground 
beyond a vague and indistinct arrangement of lines and 
colours ; and that if on the contrary, we look at any fore- 
ground object, so as to receive a distinct impression of it, 
the distance and middle distance become all disorder and 

4. And therefore, if in a painting our foreground is 
anything, our distance must be nothing, and vice versa / 
for if we represent our near and distant objects as giving 
both at once that distinct image to the eye, which we receive 
in nature from each, when we look at them separately ; * 
and if we distinguish them from each other only by the 
air-tone, and indistinctness dependent on positive distance, 
we violate one of the most essential principles of nature ; 
we represent that as seen at once which can only be seen 

* This incapacity of the eye must not be confounded with its incapa- 
bility to comprehend a large portion of lateral space at once. We indeed 
can see, at any one moment, little more than one point, the objects be- 
side it being- confused and indistinct ; but we need pay no attention to 
this in art, because we can see just as little of the picture as we can of 
the landscape without turning the eye, and hence any slurring or con- 
fusing of one part of it, laterally, more than another, is not founded on 
any truth of nature, but is an expedient of the artist — and often an ex- 
cellent and desirable one — to make the eye rest where he wishes it. 
But as the touch expressive of a distant object is as near upon the canvas 
as that expressive of a near one, both are seen distinctly and with the 
same focus of the eye, and hence an immediate contradiction of nature 
results, unless one or other be given with an artificial and increased in- 
distinctness, expressive of the appearance peculiar to the unadapted 
focus. On the other hand, it must be noted that the greater part of the 
effect above described is consequent not on variation of focus, but on the 
different angle at which near objects are seen by each of the two eyes, 
when both are directed towards the distance. 



by two separate acts of seeing, and tell a falsehood as gross 
as if we had represented four sides of a cubic object vis- 
ible together. 

5. ]STow, to this fact and principle, no landscape painter 
of the old school, as far as I remember, ever paid the slight- 
est attention. Finishing their foregrounds clearly and 
sharply, and with vigorous impression on the eye, giving 
even the leaves of their bushes and grass with perfect 
edge and shape, they proceeded into the distance with 
equal attention to what they could see of its details — they 
gave all that the eye can perceive in a distance, when it is 
fully and entirely devoted to it, and therefore, though 
masters of aerial tone, though employing every expedient 
that art could supply to conceal the intersection of lines, 
though caricaturing the force and shadow of near objects 
to throw them close upon the eye, they never succeeded in 
truly representing space. 

6. Turner introditced a neio era in landscape art, by 
shoiving that the foreground might be sunk for the dis- 
tance, and that it was possible to express immediate 
proximity to the spectator, without giving anything like 
completeness to the forms of the near objects. This is 
not done by slurred or soft lines, observe (alicays the 
sign of vice in art), but by a decisive imperfection, a 
firm, but partial assertion of form, which the eye feels to 
be close home to it, and yet cannot rest upon, or cling to, nor 
entirely understand, and from tvhich it is driven away of 
necessity, to those parts of distance on which it is intended 
to repose. And this principle, originated by Turner, 
though fully carried out by him only, has yet been acted 
on with judgment and success by several less powerful ar- 
tists of the English school. Some six years ago, the brown 
moorland foregrounds of Copley Fielding were very in- 
structive in this respect. Not a line in them was made 
out, not a single object clearly distinguishable. Wet broad 



sweeps of the brash, sparkling, careless, and accidental as 
nature herself, always truthful as far as they went, imply- 
ing knowledge, though not expressing it, suggested every- 
thing, while they represented nothing. But far off into 
the mountain distance came the sharp edge and the deli- 
cate form ; the whole intention and execution of the pic- 
ture being guided and exerted where the great impression 
of space and size was to be given. The spectator was 
compelled to go forward into the waste of hills — there, 
where the sun broke wide upon the moor, he must walk 
and wander — he could not stumble and hesitate over the 
near rocks^ nor stop to botanize on the first inches of his 
path." And the impression of these pictures was always 
great and enduring, as it was simple and truthful. I do 
not know anything in art which has expressed more com- 
pletely the force and feeling of nature in these particular 
scenes. And it is a farther illustration f of the principle 
we are insisting upon, that where, as in some of his later 
works, he has bestowed more labour on the foreground, the 
picture has lost both in space and sublimity. And among 
artists in general, who are either not aware of the princi- 
ple, or fear to act upon it (for it requires no small cour- 
age, as well as skill, to treat a foreground with that indis- 
tinctness and mystery which they have been accustomed 
to consider as characteristic of distance), the foreground is 
not only felt, as every landscape painter will confess, to be 
the most embarrassing and unmanageable part of the pic- 
ture, but, in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred, will go 

* There is no inconsistency, observe, between this passage and what 
was before asserted respecting- the necessity of botanical fidelity — 
where the foreground is the object of attention. Compare Part II. 
Sect. I. Chap. VII. § 10: — " To paint mist rightly, space rightly, and 
light rightly, it may be often necessary to paint nothing else rightly." 

f Hardly. It would have been so only had the recently finished fore- 
grounds been as accurate in detail as they are abundant ; they are pain- 
ful, I believe, not from their finish, but their falseness. 



near to destroy the effect of the rest of the composition. 
Thus Callcott's Trent is severely injured by the harsh 
group of foreground figures ; and Stanfield very rarely 
gets through an Academy picture without destroying 
much of its space, by too much determination of near 
form ; while Harding constantly sacrifices his distance, 
and compels the spectator to dwell on the foreground al- 
together, though indeed, with such foregrounds as he gives 
us, we are most happy so to do. 

7. But it is in Turner only that we see a bold and deci- 
sive choice of the distance and middle distance, as his 
great object of attention ; and by him only that the fore- 
ground is united and adapted to it, not by any want of 
drawing, or coarseness, or carelessness of execution, but by 
the most precise and beautiful indication or suggestion of 
just so much of even the minutest forms as the eye can 
see when its focus is not adapted to them. And herein 
is another reason for the vigour and wholeness of the effect 
of Turner's works at any distance ; while those of almost 
all other artists are sure to lose space as soon as we lose 
sight of the details. 

8. And now we see the reason for the singular, and to the 
ignorant in art, the offensive execution of Turner's figures. 
I do not mean to assert that there is any reason whatso- 
ever for had drawing (though in landscape it matters ex- 
ceedingly little) ; but there is both reason and necessity for 
that want of drawing which gives even the nearest figures 
round balls with four pink spots in them instead of faces, 
and four dashes of the brush instead of hands and feet ; 
for it is totally impossible that if the eye be adapted to 
receive the rays proceeding from the utmost distance, 
and some partial impression from all the distances, it 
should be capable of perceiving more of the forms and 
features of near figures than Turner gives. And how ab- 
solutely necessary to the faithful representation of space 



this indecision really is, might be proved with the utmost 
ease by any one who had veneration enough for the artist 
to sacrifice one of his pictures to his fame ; who would 
take some one of his works in which the figures were 
most incomplete, and have them painted in by any of our 
delicate and first-rate figure-painters, absolutely preserv- 
ing every colour and shade of Turner's group, so as not 
to lose one atom of the composition, but giving eyes for 
the pink spots, and feet for the white ones. Let the pic- 
ture be so exhibited in the Academy, and even novices in 
art would feel at a glance that its truth of space was gone, 
that every one of its beauties and harmonies had under- 
gone decomposition, that it was now a grammatical sole- 
cism, a painting of impossibilities, a thing to torture the. 
eye and offend the mind. 



1. In the last chapter, we have seen how in distinctness 
of individual distances becomes necessary in order to ex- 
press the adaptation of the eye to one or other of thern ; 
we have now to examine that kind of indistinctness which 
is dependent on real retirement of the object even when 
the focus of the eye is fully concentrated upon it. The 
first kind of indecision is that which belongs to all objects 
which the eye is not adapted to, whether near or far off : 
the second is that consequent upon the want of power in 
the eye to receive a clear image of objects at a great dis- 
tance from it, however attentively it may regard them. 

Draw on a piece of white paper, a square and a circle, 
each about a twelfth or eighth of an inch in diameter, and 
blacken them so that their forms may be very distinct ; 
place your paper against the wall at the end of the room, 
and retire from it a greater or less distance according as 
you have drawn the figures larger or smaller. You will 
come to a point where, though you can see both the spots 
with perfect plainness, you cannot tell which is the square 
and which the circle. 

2. Now this takes place of course with every object in a 
landscape, in proportion to its distance and size. The 
definite forms of the leaves of a tree, however sharply 
and separately they may appear to come against the sky, 
are quite indistinguishable at fifty yards off, and the form 
of everything becomes confused before we finally lose 




sight of it. Now if the character of an object, say the 
front of a house, be explained by a variety of forms in it, 
as the shadows in the tops of the windows, the lines of the 
architraves, the seams of the masonry, etc. ; these lesser 
details, as the object falls into distance, become confused 
and undecided, each of them losing their definite forms, 
but all being perfectly visible as something, a white or a 
dark spot or stroke, not lost sight of, observe, but yet so 
seen that we cannot tell what they are. As the distance 
increases, the confusion becomes greater, until at last the 
whole front of the house becomes merely a flat, pale 
space, in which, however, there is still observable a kind 
of richness and checkering, caused by the details in it, 
which, though totally merged and lost in the mass, have 
still an influence on the texture of that mass ; until at last 
the whole house itself becomes a mere light or dark spot 
which we can plainly see, but cannot tell what it is, nor 
distinguish it from a stone or any other object. 

3. Now what I particularly wish to insist upon is the 
state of vision in which all the details of an object are seen, 
and yet seen in such confusion and disorder that we can- 
not in the least tell what they are, or what they mean. It 
is not mist between us and the object, still less is it shade, 
still less is it want of character ; it is a confusion, a mys- 
tery, an interfering of undecided lines with each other, 
not a diminution of their number ; window and door, 
architrave and frieze, all are there : it is no cold and va- 
cant mass, it is full and rich and abundant, and yet you 
cannot see a sino-le form so as to know what it is. Ob- 
serve your friend's face as he is coming up to you ; first it 
is nothing more than a white spot ; now it is a face, but 
you cannot see the two eyes, nor the mouth, even as spots ; 
yon see a confusion of lines, a something which you know 
from experience to be indicative of a face, and yet you can- 
not tell how it is so. Now he is nearer, and you can see 



the spots for the eyes and mouth, but they are not blank 
spots neither ; there is detail in them ; you cannot see the 
lips, nor the teeth, nor the brows, and yet you see more 
than mere spots ; it is a mouth and an eye, and there is 
light and sparkle and expression in them, but nothing 
distinct. Now he is nearer still, and you can see that he is 
like your friend, but you cannot tell whether he is or not : 
there is a vagueness and indecision of line still. Now you 
are sure, but even yet there are a thousand things in his 
face, which have their effect in inducing the recognition, 
but which you cannot see so as to know what they are. 

4. Changes like these, and states of vision corresponding 
to them, take place with each and all of the objects of na- 
ture, and two great principles of truth are deducible from 
their observation. First, place an object as close to the 
eye as you ldxe, there is always something in it which 
you cannot see, except in the hinted and mysterious man- 
ner above described. You can see the texture of a piece 
of dress, but you cannot see the individual threads which 
compose it, though they are all felt, and have each of 
them influence on the eye. Secondly, place an object as 
ear from the eye as you like, and until it becomes itself 
a mere spot, there is always something in it which you can 
see, though only in the hinted manner above described. 
Its shadows and lines and local colours are not lost sight of 
as it retires ; they get "mixed and indistinguishable, but 
they are still there, and there is a difference always per- 
ceivable between an object possessing such details and a 
flat or vacant space. The grass blades of a meadow a mile 
off, are so far discernible that there will be a marked 
difference between its appearance and that of a piece of 
wood painted green. And thus nature is never distinct 
and never vacant, she is always mysterious, but always 
abundant / you always see something, but you never see all. 

And thus arise that exquisite finish and fulness which 



God has appointed to be the perpetual source of fresh 
pleasure to the cultivated and observant eye, — a finish 
which no distance can render invisible, and no nearness 
comprehensible ; which in every stone, every bough, every 
cloud, and every wave is multiplied around us, forever 
presented, and forever exhaustless. And hence in art, 
every space or touch in which we can see everything, or 
in which we can see nothing, is false. .Nothing can be 
true which is either complete or vacant; every touch is 
false which does not suggest more than it represents, and 
every space is false which represents nothing. 

5. Now, I would not wish for any more illustrative or 
marked examples of the total contradiction of these two 
great principles, than the landscape works of the old 
masters, taken as a body : — the Dutch masters furnishing 
the cases of seeing everything, and the Italians of seeing 
nothing. The rule with both is indeed the same, differ- 
ently applied. " You shall see the bricks in the wall, and 
be able to count them, or you shall see nothing but a dead 
flat ; but the Dutch give you the bricks, and the Italians 
the flat." Nature's rule being the precise reverse — " You 
shall never be able to count the bricks, but you shall never 
see a dead space." 

6. Take, for instance, the street in the centre of the really 
great landscape of Poussin (great in feeling at least) 
marked 260 in the Dulwich Gallery. The houses are 
dead square masses with a light side and a dark side, 
and black touches for windows. There is no suggestion 
of anything in any of the spaces, the light wall is dead 
grey, the dark wall dead grey, and the windows dead 
black. How differently would nature have treated us. 
She would have let us see the Indian corn hanging on the 
walls, and the image of the Virgin at the angles, and the 
sharp, broken, broad shadows of the tiled eaves, and the 
deep ribbed tiles with the doves upon them, and the carved 



Roman capital built into the wall, and the white and blue 
stripes of the mattresses stuffed out of the windows, and 
the flapping corners of the mat blinds. All would have 
been there ; not as such, not like the corn, nor blinds, nor 
tiles, not to be comprehended nor understood, but a con- 
fusion of yellow and black spots and strokes, carried far 
too fine for the eye to follow, microscopic in its minute- 
ness, and filling every atom and part of space with mys- 
tery, out of which would have arranged itself the general 
impression of truth and life. 

7. Again, take the distant city on the right bank of the 
river in Claude's Marriage of Isaac and Rebecca, in the 
National Gallery. I have seen many cities in my life, 
and drawn not a few ; and I have seen many fortifications, 
fancy ones included, which frequently supply us with very 
new ideas indeed, especially in matters of proportion ; but 
I do not remember ever having met with either a city or 
a fortress entirely composed of round towers of various 
heights and sizes, all facsimiles of each other, and abso- 
lutely aoreein£ in the number of battlements. I have, 
indeed, some faint recollection of having delineated such 
an one in the first page of a spelling-book when I was four 
years old ; but, somehow or other, the dignity and per- 
fection of the ideal were not appreciated, and the volume 
was not considered to be increased in value by the frontis- 
piece. Without, however, venturing to doubt the entire 
sublimity of the same ideal as it occurs in Claude, let us 
consider how nature, if she had been fortunate enough to 
originate so perfect a conception, would have managed it 
in its details. Claude has permitted us to see every battle- 
ment, and the first impulse we feel upon looking at the 
picture is to count how many there are. Nature would 
have given us a peculiar confused roughness of the upper 
lines, a multitude of intersections and spots, which we 
should have known from experience was indicative of 



battlements, but which we might as well have thought of 
creating as of counting. Claude has given you the walls 
below in one dead void of uniform grey. There is nothing 
to be seen, nor felt, nor guessed at in it ; it is grey paint 
or grey shade, whichever you may choose to call it, but it 
is nothing more. Kature would have let you see, nay, 
would have compelled you to see, thousands of spots and 
lines, not one to be absolutely understood or accounted for, 
but yet all characteristic and different from each other; 
breaking lights on shattered stones, vague shadows from 
waving vegetation, irregular stains of time and weather, 
mouldering hollows, sparkling casements — all would have 
been there — none, indeed, seen as such, none comprehen- 
sible or like themselves, but all visible ; little shadows, and 
sparkles, and scratches, making that whole sjjace of colour 
a transparent, palpitating, various infinity. 

8. Or take one of Poussin's extreme distances, such as 
that in the Sacrifice of Isaac. It is luminous, retiring, deli- 
cate and perfect in tone, and is quite complete enough to 
deceive and delight the careless eye to which all distances 
are alike ; nay, it is perfect and masterly, and absolutely 
right if we consider it as a sketch, — as a first plan of a 
distance, afterwards to be carried out in detail. But we 
must remember that all these alternate spaces of grey and 
gold are not the landscape itself, but the treatment of it — 
not its substance, but its light and shade. They are just 
what nature would cast over it, and write upon it with 
every cloud, but which she would cast in play, and without 
carefulness, as matters of the very smallest possible import- 
ance. All her work and her attention would be given to 
bring out from underneath this, and through this, the 
forms and the material character which this can only be 
valuable to illustrate, not to conceal. Every one of those 
broad spaces she would linger over in protracted delight, 
teaching you fresh lessons in every hairsbreadth of it, and 



pouring her fulness of invention into it, until the mind 
lost itself in following her, — now fringing the dark edge 
of the shadow with a tufted line of level forest — now losing 
it for an instant in a breath of mist — then breaking it with 
the white gleaming angle of a narrow brook — then dwelling 
upon it again in a gentle, mounded, melting undulation, 
over the other side of which she would carry you down 
into a dusty space of soft, crowded light, with the hedges, 
and the paths, and the sprinkled cottages and scattered 
trees mixed up and mingled together in one beautiful, 
delicate, impenetrable mystery — sparkling and melting, 
and passing away into the sky, without one line of distinct- 
ness, or one instant of vacancy. 

9. Xow it is, indeed, impossible for the painter to follow 
all this — he cannot come up to the same degree and order 
of infinity — but he can give us a lesser kind of infinity. 
He has not one-thousandth part of the space to occupy 
which nature has ; but he can, at least, leave no part of 
that space vacant and unprofitable. If nature carries out 
her minutiae over miles, he has no excuse for generalizing 
in inches. And if he will only give us all he can, if he 
will give us a fulness as complete and as mysterious as 
nature's, we will pardon him for its being the fulness of 
a cup instead of an ocean. But we will not pardon him, 
if, because he has not the mile to occupy, he will not 
occupy the inch, and because he has fewer means at his 
command, will leave half of those in his power un ex- 
erted. Still less will we pardon him for mistaking the 
sport of nature for her labour, and for following her 
only in her hour of rest, without observing how she has 
worked for it. After spending centuries in raising the 
forest, and guiding the river, and modelling the moun- 
tain, she exults over her work in buoyancy of spirit, with 
playful sunbeam and flying cloud ; but the painter must 
go through the same labour, or he must not have the 



same recreation. Let him chisel his rock faithfully, and 
tuft his forest delicately, and then Ave will allow him his 
freaks of light and shade, and thank him for them ; but 
we will not be put off with the play before the lesson — 
with the adjunct instead of the essence — with the illus- 
tration instead of the fact. 

10. I am somewhat anticipating my subject here, be- 
cause I can scarcely help answering the objections which 
I know must arise in the minds of most readers, espe- 
cially of those who are partially artistical, respecting 
" generalization," " breadth," " effect," etc. It were to 
be wished that our writers on art would not dwell so 
frequently on the necessity of breadth, without explain- 
ing what it means ; and that we had more constant 
reference made to the principle which I can only re-mem- 
ber having seen once clearly explained and insisted on, 
that breadth is not vacancy. Generalization is unity, 
not destruction of parts / and composition is not anni- 
hilation, hut arrangement of materials. The bkeadtu 
which unites the truths of nature with her harmonies 
is meritorious and beautiful • but the breadth which 
annihilates those truths by the million is not painting 
nature, but painting over her. AnxL so the masses which 
result from right concords and relations of details are 
sublime and impressive ; but the masses which result 
from the eclipse of details are contemptible and pain- 
full And Ave shall sIioav, in folloAving parts of the 
work, that distances like those of Poussin are mere mean- 
ingless tricks of clever execution, which, Avhen once dis- 
covered, the artist may repeat over and over again, Avith 

* Of course much depends upon the kind of detail so lost. An artist 
may generalize the trunk of a tree, where he only loses lines of bark, 
and do us a kindness ; but he must not generalize the details of a 
champaign, in which there is a history of creation. The full discussion 
of the subject belongs to a future part of our investigation. 



mechanical contentment and perfect satisfaction, both to 
himself and to his superficial admirers, with no more 
exertion of intellect nor awakening of feeling than any 
tradesman has in multiplying some ornamental pattern 
of furniture. Be this as it may, however (for we cannot 
enter upon the discussion of the question here), the fal- 
sity and imperfection of such distances admit of no 
dispute. Beautiful and ideal they may be ; true they 
are not : and in the same way we might go through every 
part and portion of the works of the old masters, showing 
throughout, either that you have every leaf and blade of 
grass staring defiance to the mystery of nature, or that 
you have dead spaces of absolute vacuity, equally deter- 
mined in their denial of her fulness. And even if we 
ever find (as here and there, in their better pictures, we 
do) changeful passages of agreeable playing colour, or 
mellow and transparent modulations of mysterious atmos- 
phere, even here the touches, though satisfactory to the 
eye, are suggestive of nothing, — they are characterless, — 
they have none of the peculiar expressiveness and mean- 
ing by which nature maintains the variety and interest 
even of what she most conceals. She always tells a story, 
however hintedly and vaguely ; each of her touches is 
different from all the others ; and we feel with every 
one, that though we cannot tell what it is, it cannot be 
anything y while even the most dexterous distances of the 
old masters pretend to secresy without having anything 
to conceal, and are ambiguous, not from the concentration 
of meaning, but from the want of it. 

11. And now, take up one of Turner's distances, it mat- 
ters not which, or of what kind, — drawing or painting, small 
or great, done thirty years ago, or for last year's Acad- 
emy, as you like ; say that of the Mercury and Argus, 
and look if every fact which I have just been pointing 
out in nature be not carried out in it. Abundant, beyond 



the power of the eye to embrace or follow, vast and 
various, beyond the power of the mind to comprehend, 
there is yet not one atom in its whole extent and mass 
which does not suggest more than it represents ; nor does 
it suggest vaguely, but in such a manner as to prove that 
the conception of each individual inch of that distance 
is absolutely clear and complete in the master's mind, a 
separate picture fully worked out : but yet, clearly and 
fully as the idea is formed, just so much of it is given, 
and no more, as nature would have allowed us to feel or 
see ; just so much as would enable a spectator of expe- 
rience and knowledge to understand almost every minute 
fragment of separate detail, but appears, to the unprac- 
tised and careless eye, just what a distance of nature's 
own would appear, an unintelligible mass. Isot one line 
out of the millions there is without meaning, yet there is 
not one which is not effected and disguised by the dazzle 
and indecision of distance. Ivo form is made out, and 
yet no form is unknown. 

12. Perhaps the truth of this system of drawing is better 
to be understood by observing the distant character of 
rich architecture than of any other object. Go to the 
top of Highgate Hill on a clear summer morniug at five 
o'clock, and look at Westminster Abbey. You will re- 
ceive an impression of a building enriched with multi- 
tudinous vertical lines. Try to distinguish one of those 
lines all the way down from the one next to it : You can- 
not. Try to count them : You cannot. Try to make out 
the beginning or end of any one of them : You cannot. 
Look at it generally, and it is all symmetry and arrange- 
ment. Look at it in its parts, and it is all inextricable 
confusion. Am not I, at this moment, describing a piece 
of Turner's drawing, with the same words by which I 
describe nature ? And what would one of the old masters 
have done with such a building as this in his distance ? 



Either lie would only have given the shadows of the but- 
tresses, and the light and dark sides of the two towers, 
and two dots for the windows ; or if more ignorant and 
more ambitious, he had attempted to render some of the 
detail, it would have been done by distinct lines, — would 
have been broad caricature of the delicate building, felt 
at once to be false, ridiculous, and offensive. His most 
successful effort would only have given us, through 
his carefully toned atmosphere, the effect of a colossal 
parish church, without one line of carving on its eco- 
nomic sides. Turner, and Turner only, would follow and 
render on the canvas that mystery of decided line, — that 
distinct, sharp, visible, but unintelligible and inextricable 
richness, which, examined part by part, is to the eye 
nothing but confusion and defeat, which, taken as a 
whole, is all unity, symmetry, and truth.* 

13. Xor is this mode of representation true only with 
respect to distances. Every object, however near the eye, 
has something about it wdiich you cannot see, and which 
brings the mystery of distance even into every part and 
portion of wmat we suppose ourselves to see most dis- 
tinctly. Stand in the Piazza di St. Marco, at Yenice, as 
close to the church as you can, without losing sight of the 
top of it. Look at the capitals of the columns on the 
second story. You see that they are exquisitely rich, 
carved all over. Tell me their patterns : You cannot. 
Tell me the direction of a single line in them : You can- 
not. Yet you see a multitude of lines, and you have so 
much feeling of a certain tendency and arrangement in 
those lines, that you are quite sure the capitals are beauti- 

* Vide, for illustration, Fontainebleau, in the Illustrations to Scott ; 
Vignette at opening of Human Life, in Rogers's Poems ; Venice, in the 
Italy ; Chateau de Bloia ; the Rouen, and Pont Neuf, Paris, in the 
Rivers of France. The distances of all the Academy pictures of Ven- 
ice, especially the Shylock, are most instructive. 



fill, and that they are all different from each other. But 
I defy you to make out one single line in any one of 

14. JSTow go to Canaietto's painting of this church, in 
the Palazzo Manfrini, taken from the very spot on which 
you stood. How much has he represented of all this ? 
A black dot under each capital for the shadow, and a 
yellow one above it for the light. There is not a vestige 
nor indication of carving or decoration of any sort or kind. 

Very different from this, but erring on the other side, 
is the ordinary drawing of the architect, who gives the 
principal lines of the design with delicate clearness and 
precision, but with no uncertainty or mystery about them ; 
which mystery being removed, all space and size are de- 
stroyed with it, and we have a drawing of a model, not 
of a building. But in the capital lying on the foreground 
in Turner's Daphne hunting with Leucippus, we have the 
perfect truth. ~Not one jag of the acanthus leaves is ab- 
solutely visible, the lines are all disorder, but you feel in 
an instant that all are there. And so it will invariably be 
found through every portion of detail in his late and 
most perfect works. 

15. But if there be this mystery and inexhaustible finish 
merely in the more delicate instances of architectural 
decoration, how much more in the ceaseless and incom- 
parable decoration of nature? The detail of a single 
weedy bank laughs the carving of ages to scorn. Every 
leaf and stalk has a design and tracery upon it, — every 
knot of grass an intricacy of shade which the labour of 
years could never imitate, and which, if such labour could 
follow it out even to the last fibres of the leaflets, would 
yet be falsely represented, for, as in all other cases 
brought forward, it is not clearly seen, but confusedly 
and mysteriously. That which is nearness for the bank 
is distance for its details ; and however near it may \>% 



the greater part of those details are still a beautiful in- 

16. Hence, throughout the picture, the expression of 
space and size is dependent upon obscurity, united with, 
or rather resultant from, exceeding fulness. We destroy 
both space and size, either by the vacancy, which affords 
us no measure of space, or by the distinctness, which 
gives us a false one. The distance of Poussin, having no 
indication of trees, nor of meadows, nor of character of 
any kind, may be fifty miles off, or may be five ; we can- 
not tell — we have no measure, and in consequence, no 
vivid impression. But a middle distance of Iiobbima's 
involves a contradiction in terms ; it states a distance by 
perspective, which it contradicts by distinctness of detail. 

* It is to be remembered, however, that these truths present them- 
selves in all probability under very different phases to individuals of 
different powers of vision. Many artists who appear to generalize 
rudely or rashly are perhaps faithfully endeavouring to render the ap- 
pearance which nature bears to sight of limited range. Others may 
be led by their singular keenness of sight into inexpedient detail. 
Works which are painted for effect at a certain distance must be always 
seen at disadvantage by those whose sight is of different range from 
the painter's. Another circumstance to which I ought above to have 
alluded is the scale of the picture ; for there are different degrees of 
generalization, and different necessities of symbolism, belonging to 
every scale : the stipple of the miniature painter would be offensive on 
features of the life size, and the leaves which Tintoret may articulate 
on a canvas of sixty feet by twenty-five, must be generalized by Turner 
on one of four by three. Another circumstance of some importance is 
the assumed distance of the foreground ; many landscape painters seem 
to think their nearest foreground is always equally near, whereas its 
distance from the spectator varies not a little, being always at least its 
own calculable breadth from side to side as estimated by figures or any 
other object of known size at the nearest part of it. With Claude al- 
most always ; with Turner often, as in the Daphne and Leucippus, this 
breadth is forty or fifty yards ; and as the nearest foreground object 
must then be at least that distance removed, and may be much more, 
it is evident that no completion of close detail is in such cases allow- 
able (see here another proof of Claude's erroneous practice) ; with 



17. A single dusty roll of Turner's bruskis more truly 
expressive of the infinity of foliage, than the niggling of 
Hobbima could have rendered his canvas, if he had 
worked on it till doomsday. What Sir J. Eeynolds 
says of the misplaced labour of his Roman acquaintance 
on separate leaves of foliage, and the certainty he ex- 
presses that a man who attended to general character 
would in five minutes produce a more faithful representa- 
tion of a tree than the unfortunate mechanist in as many 
years, is thus perfectly true and well founded; but this is 
not because details are undesirable, but because they are 
best given by swift execution, and because, individually, 
they cannot be given at all. 

18. But it should be observed (though we shall be better 

Titian and Tintoret, on the contrary, the foreground is rarely more 
than five or six yards broad, and its objects therefore being only five 
or six yards distant are entirely detailed. 

None of these circumstances, however, in any wise affect the great 
principle, the confusion of detail taking place sooner or later in all 
cases. I ought to have noted, however, that many of the pictures of 
. Turner in which the confused drawing has been least understood, have 
been luminous twilights; and that the uncertainty of twilight is there- 
fore added to that of general distance. In the evenings of the south 
it not unfrequently happens that objects touched with the reflected 
light of the western sky continue, even for the space of half an hour 
after sunset, glowing, ruddy, and intense in colour, and almost as bright 
as if they were still beneath actual sunshine, even till the moon begins 
to cast a shadow : but in spite of this brilliancy of colour all the de- 
tails become ghostly and ill-defined. This is a favourite moment of 
Turner's, and he invariably characterizes it, not by gloom, but by un- 
certainty of detail. I have never seen the effect of clear twilight 
thoroughly rendered by art ; that effect in which all details are lost, 
while intense clearness and light are still felt in the atmosphere, in 
which nothing is distinctly seen, and yet it is not darkness, far less 
mist, that is the cause of concealment. Turner's efforts at rendering 
this effect (as the Wilderness of Engedi, Assos, Chateau de Blois, Caer- 
laverock, and others innumerable), have always some slight appearance 
of mistiness, owing to the indistinctness of details ; but it remains to 
be shown that any closer approximation to the effect is possible. 



able to insist upon this point in futufe) that much of 
harm and error has arisen from the supposition and as- 
sertions of swift and brilliant historical painters, that the 
same principles of execution are entirely applicable to 
landscape, which are right for the figure. The artist 
who falls into extreme detail in drawing the human form 
is apt to become disgusting rather than pleasing. It is 
more agreeable that the general outline and soft hues of 
flesh should alone be given, than its hairs, and veins, and 
lines of intersection. And even the most rapid and gen- 
eralizing expression of the human body, if directed by 
perfect knowledge, and rigidly faithful in drawing, will 
commonly omit very little of what is agreeable or impres- 
sive. But the exclusively generalizing landscape painter 
omits the whole of what is valuable in his subject, — omits 
thoughts, designs, and beauties by the million, everything, 
indeed, which can furnish him with variety or expression. 
A distance in Lincolnshire, or in Lombardy, might both 
be generalized into such blue and yellow stripes as we see 
in Poussin ; but whatever there is of beauty or character 
in either depends altogether on our understanding the 
details, and feeling the difference between the morasses 
and ditches of the one, and the rolling sea of mulberry 
trees of the other. And so in every part of the subject. 
I have no hesitation in asserting that it is impossible to 
go too fine, or think too much about details in landscape, 
so that they be rightly arranged and rightly massed ; but 
that it is equally impossible to render anything like the 
fulness or the space of nature, except by that mystery and 
obscurity of execution which she herself uses, and in 
which Turner only has followed her. 

19. We have now rapidly glanced at such general truths 
of nature as can be investigated without much knowledge 
of what is beautiful. Questions of arrangement, massing, 
and generalization, I prefer leaving untouched, until we 



know something about details, and something about what 
is beautiful. All that is desirable, even in these mere 
' technical and artificial points, is based upon truths and 
habits of nature ; but we cannot understand those truths 
until we are acquainted with the specific forms and minor 
details which they affect, or out of which they arise. 



Incidentally to this question of the effect of distance 
upon outline and distinction of objects, we may here 
notice the effect of distance upon the colouring of a pic- 
ture as referred to the position of the observer. 

1. Yery curious effects are produced upon cdl paint- 
ings by the distance of the eye from them. One of these 
is the giving a certain softness to all colours, so that hues 
which would look coarse or bald, if seen near, may some- 
times safely be left, and are left, by the great workmen in 
their large works, to be corrected by the kind of bloom 
which the distance of thirty or forty feet sheds over them. 
I say, " sometimes," because this optical effect is a very 
subtle one, and seems to take place chiefly on certain 
colours, dead fresco colours especially ; also the practice 
of the great workmen is very different, and seems much to 
be regulated by the time at their disposal. Tintoret's pic- 
ture of Paradise, with 500 figures in it, adapted to a sup- 
posed distance of from fifty to a hundred feet, is yet colour- 
ed so tenderly that the nearer it is approached the better it 
looks ; nor is it at all certain that the colour which is 
wrong near, will look right a little way off, or even a 
great way off ; I have never seen any of our Academy 
portraits made to look like Titians by being hung above 
the line ; still, distance does produce a definite effect on 
pictorial colour, and in general an improving one. It 
also deepens the relative power of all strokes and sha- 
dows. A touch of shade which, seen near, is all but invisi- 
ble, and, as far as effect on the picture is concerned, cpiite 



powerless, will be found, a little way off, to tell as a 
definite shadow, and to have a notable result on all that is 
near it ; and so markedly is this the case, that in all fine 
and first-rate drawing there are many passages in which 
if we see the touches we are putting on, we are doing too 
much ; they must be put on by the feeling of the hand 
only, and have their effect on the eye when seen in uni- 
son, a little way off. This seems strange ; but I believe 
the reason of it is, that, seen at some distance, the parts of 

the touch oi" touches are gathered together, and their rela- 
te o ' 

tions truly shown ; while seen near they are scattered 
and confused. On a large scale, and in common things, 
the phenomenon is of constant occurrence ; the " dirt 
bands" on a glacier, for instance, are not to be counted 
on the glacier itself, and yet their appearance is truly 
stated by Professor Forbes to be u one of great import- 
ance, though from the two circumstances of being best 
seen at a distance, or considerable height, and in a feeble 
or slanting light, it had very naturally been overlooked 
both by myself and others, like what are called blind paths 
over moors, visible at a distance, but lost when we stand 
upon them." * 

2. Not only, however, does this take place in a picture 
very notably, so that a group of touches will tell as a 
compact and intelligible mass, a little way off, though 
confused when seen near ; but also a dark touch gains at 
a little distance in apparent darkness, a light touch in 
apparent light, and a coloured touch in apparent colour, to 
a degree inconceivable by an unpractised person ; so that 
literally, a good painter is obliged, working near his 
picture, to do in everything only about half of what he 
wants, the rest being done by the distance. And if the 
effect, at such distance, is to be of confusion, then sorae- 

* Travels through the Alps, chap. viii. 



times, seen near, the work mast be a confusion worse con- 
founded, almost utterly unintelligible ; hence the amaze- 
ment and blank wonder of the public at some of the 
finest passages of Turner, which look like a mere mean- 
ingless and disorderly work of chance, but, rightly under- 
stood, are preparations for a given result, like the most 
subtle moves of a game of chess, of which no bystander 
can for a long time see the intention, but which are, in 
dim, underhand, wonderful way, bringing out their fore- 
seen and inevitable result. 

3. And, be it observed, no other means would have 
brought out that result. Every distance and size of 
"picture has its own proper method of work '• the artist 
will necessarily vary that method somewhat according to 
circumstances and expectations : he may sometimes finish 
in a way fitted for close observation, to please his patron, 
or catch the public eye ; and sometimes be tempted into 
such finish by his zeal, or betrayed into it by forgetful- 
ness, as I think Tintoret has been, slightly, in his Para- 
dise, above mentioned. But there never yet was a 
picture thoroughly effective at ct distance, which did not 
look more or less unintelligible near. Things which in 
distant effect are folds of dress, seen near are only two 
or three grains of golden colour set there apparently by 
chance ; what far off is a solid limb, near is a grey shade 
with a misty outline, so broken that it is not easy to find 
its boundary ; and what far off may perhaps be a man's 
face, near, is only a piece of thin brown colour, enclosed 
by a single flowing wave of a brush loaded with white, 
while three brown touches across one edge of it, ten feet 
away, become a mouth and eyes. The more subtle the 
power of the artist, the more curious the difference will 
be between the apparent means and the effect produced ; 
and one of the most sublime feelings connected with art 
consists in the perception of this very strangeness, and in 



a sympathy with, the foreseeing and foreordaining power 
jof the artist. In Turner, Tintoret, and Paul Yeronese, 
the intenseness of perception, first, as to what is to be 
done, and then, of the means of doing it, is so colossal 
that I always feel in the presence of their pictures just as 
other people would in that of a supernatural being. 
Common talkers use the word " magic " of a great paint- 
er's power without knowing what they mean by it. 
They mean a great truth. That power is magical ; so 
magical, that, well understood, no enchanter's work could 
be more miraculous or more appalling • and though I 
am not often kept from saying things by timidity, I 
should be afraid of offending the reader, if I were to 
define to him accurately the kind and the degree of awe 
with which I have stood before Tintoret's Adoration of 
the Magi, at Yenice, and Yeronese's Marriage in Cana, in 
the Louvre. 41. P. , 61. 





The word " sculpture," though in ultimate accuracy it 
is to be limited to the development of form in hard sub- 
stances by cutting away portions of the mass, in broad 
definition must be held to signify the reduction of any 
shapeless mass of solid matter into an intended shape , 
whatever the consistence of the substance, or nature of 
the instrument employed ; whether we carve a granite 
mountain or a piece of boxwood, and whether we use, for 
our forming instrument, axe, or hammer, or chisel, or our 
own hands, or water to soften, or fire to fuse ; — whenever 
and however we bring a shapeless thing into shape, we do 
so under the laws of the one great Art of Sculpture. 


Hitherto the energy of growth in any people may be 
almost directly measured by their passion for imitative 
art, namely, for sculpture or for the drama, which is 
living or speaking sculpture, or, as in Greece, for both. Of 
the two mimetic arts, the drama, being more passionate, 
and involving conditions of greater excitement and luxury, 
is usually in its excellence the sign of culminating strength 
in the people ; while fine sculpture, requiring always sub- 
mission to severe law, is an unfailing proof of their being 



in early and active progress. There is no instance of fine 
sculpture being produced by a nation either torpid, weak, 
or in decadence. Their drama may gain in grace and wit ; 
but their sculpture, in days of decline, is always base. 

Aratra Pentelici, 29. 

a. Sculpture is essentially the production of a pleasant 
bossiness or roundness of surface. Whatever the modu- 
lated masses may represent, the primary condition is that 
they shall be beautifully rounded, and disposed with due 
discretion and order. 

b. It is difficult at first to feel this order and beauty of 
surface apart from imitation. It is the essential business 
of the sculptor to obtain abstract beauty of surface, 
rendered definite by increase and decline of light, whether 
he imitates anything or not. 

The sense of abstract proportion, on which the enjoy- 
ment of such a. piece of art entirely depends, is one of the 
aesthetic faculties which nothing can develop but time 
and education. It belongs only to the highly-trained na- 
tions ; and, among them, to their most strictly and refined 
classes, though the germs of it are found, as part of their 
innate power, in every people capable of art. It has for 
the most part vanished at present from the English mind, 
in consequence of an eager desire for excitement, and for 
the kind of splendour that exhibits wealth careless of 
dignity. The order and harmony which, in his enthusias- 
tic account of the Theatre of Epidaurus, Pausanias in- 
sists on before beauty, can only be recognized by stern 
order and harmony in our daily lives ; and the perception 
of them is as little to be compelled, or taught suddenly, 
as the laws of still finer choice in the conception of dra- 
matic incident which regulate poetic sculpture. 




Beginning with the simple conception of sculpture as 
the art of fiction in solid substance, we are now to consider 
the passions or instincts of its subjects. 

a. The Instinct of Mimicry. The graphic arts begin 
in merely mimetic efforts or the making of toys. They 
proceed, as they obtain more perfect realization, to act 
under the influence of a stronger and higher instinct. 

b. The Instinct of Idolatry. The second great condition 
for the advance of the art of sculpture is that the race 
should possess., in addition to the mimetic instinct, the 
realistic or idolizing instinct ; the desire to see as sub- 
stantial the powers that are unseen, and bring those near 
that are afar off, and to possess and cherish those that are 
strange. To make, in some way, tangible and visible the 
nature of the gods — to illustrate and explain it by sym- 
bols ; to bring the immortals out of the recesses of the 
clouds, and make them Penates ; to bring back the dead 
from darkness and make them Lares. Our conception of 
this tremendous and universal human passion has been 
altogether narrowed by the current idea that Pagan re- 
ligions art consisted only, or chiefly, in giving personality 
to the gods. The personality was never doubted ; it was 
visibility, interpretation, and possession that the hearts of 
men sought, instead of an abstract idea. 

As no nation ever attained real greatness during periods 
in which it was subject to any condition of idolatry, so no 
nation has ever attained or persevered in greatness, except 
in reaching and maintaining a passionate imagination of a 
spiritual state higher than that of men; and of spiritual 
creatures nobler than men, having a quite real and per- 
sonal existence, however imperfectly apprehended by us. 



But I must now beg your close attention, because I have 
to point out distinctions in modes of conception which will 
appear trivial to you unless accurately understood; but 
of an importance in the history of art which cannot be 

When the populace of Paris adorned the statue of Stras- 
bourg with immortelles, none, even the simplest of the pious 
decorators, would suppose that the city of Strasbourg itself, 
or any spirit or ghost of the city, was actually there, sit- 
ting in the Place de la Concorde. The figure was delight- 
ful to them as a visible nucleus for their fond thoughts 
about Strasbourg, but never for a moment supposed to 
he Strasbourg. 

Similarly, they might have taken pleasure in a statue 
representing a river instead of a city — the Phine or the 
Garonne, suppose — and have been touched with strong emo- 
tion in looking at it, if the real river were dear to them, and 
yet never think for an instant that the statue was the river. 

Put if you get nothing more in the depth of the na- 
tional mind than these two feelings, the mimetic and 
idolizing instincts, there may be still no progress pos- 
sible for the arts except in delicacy of manipulation 
and accumulative caprice of design. You must have not 
only the idolizing instinct, but an r)6os which chooses the 
right thing to idolize. Else you will get states of art like 
those in China or India, non-progressive, and in great part 
diseased and frightful, being wrought under the influence 
of foolish terror or foolish admiration. So that a third 
condition, completing and confirming both the others, must 
exist in order to the development of the creative power. 

c. The Instinct of Discipline. This third condition is 
that the heart of the nation shall he set on the discovery of 
just and equal law, and shall he from day to day devel- 
oping that law more perfectly. 



The Greek school of sculpture was formed during and 
in consequence of the national effort to discover the nature 
of justice; the Tuscan, during and in consequence of the 
national effort to discover the nature of justification. 

Now, when a nation with mimetic instinct and imagina- 
tive longing is also thus occupied earnestly in the dis- 
covery of Ethic law, that effort gradually brings precision 
and truth into all its manual acts ; and the physical prog- 
ress of sculpture, as in the Greek so in the Tuscan school, 
consists in gradually limiting what was before indefinite, 
in verifying what was inaccurate, and in humanizing 
what was monstrous. I might perhaps content you by 
showing these external phenomena, and by dwelling simply 
on the increasing desire of naturalness, which compels, in 
every successive decade of years, literally, in the sculp- 
tured images, the mimicked bones to come together, bone 
to his bone ; and the flesh to come upon them, until from 
a flattened and pinched handful of clay, respecting which 
you may gravely question whether it was intended for a 
human form at all ; — by slow degrees, and added touch to 
touch, in increasing consciousness of the bodily truth, — 
at last the Aphrodite of Melos stands before you a perfect 
woman. But all that search for physical accuracy is 
merely the external operation, in the arts, of the seeking 
for truth in the inner soul. 

Observe farther : the increasing truth in representation 
is co-relative with increasing beauty in the thing to be rep- 
resented. The pursuit of justice, which regulates the 
imitative effort, regulates also the development of the race 
into dignity of person, as of mind ; and their culminating 
art-skill attains the grasp of entire truth at the moment 
when truth becomes the most lovely. And then ideal 
sculpture may safely go into portraiture. 

These, then, are the three great passions which are con- 
cerned in true sculpture. I cannot find better, or at least 



more easily remembered, names for them than u the In- 
stincts of Mimicry, Idolatry, and Discipline," meaning, by 
the last, the desire of equity and wholesome restraint in 
all acts and works of life. Now, of these there is no ques- 
tion but that the love of Mimicry is natural and right, and 
the love of Discipline is natural and right. But it looks a 
grave question whether the yearning for Idolatry (the 
desire of companionship with images) is right. 


a. Likeness. All second-rate artists will tell you that 
the object of fine art is not resemblance, but some kind of 
abstraction more refined than reality. But the object of 
the great Eesemblant Arts is, and always has been, to 
resemble, and to resemble as closely as possible. It is the 
function of a good portrait to set the man before you in 
habit as he lived. It is the function of good landscape to 
set the scene before you in its reality, to make you, if it 
may be, think the clouds are flying and the streams foam- 
ing. It is the function of the best sculptor — the true 
Daedalus — to make stillness look like breathing, and 
marble look like flesh. A. P., 103. 

Greek art, and all other art, is fine when it makes a man's 
face as like a man's face as it can. The greatest masters 
of all greatest schools — Phidias, Donatello, Velasquez, or 
Sir J. Reynolds — all tried to make human creatures as like 
human creatures as they could. Look at the foot of Cor- 
reggio's Venus in the Xational Gallery. He made the foot 
as like a foot as he could. In Turner's drawing of " Ivy 
Bridge " you will find the water in it like real water, and 
the ducks like real ducks. Queen of the Air, 166. 

h. RigJttness. What are the merits of this Greek art 
which make it so exemplary ? Not that it is beautiful, but 



that it is Right. All that it desires to do it does, and all 
that it does it does well. Its laws of self-restraint are 
marvellous. It is contented to do a simple thing-, with 
only one or two qualities, restrictedly desired, and suf- 
ficiently attained. There is entire masterhood of its busi- 
ness up to the required point. A Greek does not reach 
after other people's strength, nor outreach his own. He 
never tries to paint before he can draw ; he never tries to 
lay on flesh where there are no bones. Those are his first 
merits — sincere and innocent purpose, strong common 
sense and principle, and all the strength that comes of 
these, and all the grace that follows on that strength. 

c. Masses. Greek art is always exemplary in disposi- 
tion of masses, which is a thing that in modern days 
students rarely look for, artists not enough, and the public 
never. But whatever else Greek work may fail of, you 
may be always sure its masses are well placed, and their 
placing has been the object of most subtle care. 

For example: among Greek coins yet preserved is one 
of the town Camarina, inscribed with the name of the 
town, and the figure of Hercules, having the face of a 
man and the skin of the lion's head. You can't read the 
name, though you know Greek, without pains — the coin 
could tell its own story — but what did above all things 
matter was that no letter of the word should curve in a 
wrong place with respect to the outline of the head, and 
divert the eye from it, or spoil any of its lines. So the 
whole inscription is thrown into a sweeping curve of 
gradually diminishing size, continuing from the lion's 
paw, round the neck, up to the forehead, and answering a 
decorative purpose as completely as the curls of the mane 
opposite. Of these, again, you cannot change or displace 
one without mischief; they are almost as even in reticula- 
tion as a piece of basket work, but each has a different 


form and due relation to the rest, and if you set to work 
to draw that mane rightly, you will find that, whatever 
time you give to it, you can't get the tresses quite into 
their places, and that every tress out of its place does an 

But another question here arises. Granted that these 
tresses may be finely placed, still they are not like a lion's 
mane. If the face is to be like the face of man, why is 
not the lion's mane to be like a lion's mane % Simply be- 
cause fringes and jags would spoil the surface of the coin, 
and though they might be cut they could not be stamped 
by a die. So the Greek uses his common sense, wastes no 
time, loses no skill, and says to you, "Here are beautifully 
set tresses, which I have carefully designed, and easily 
stamped. Enjoy them; if you cannot understand that 
they mean a lion's mane, heaven mend your wits." 

The sum, then, of Greek art work is well-founded know- 
ledge, simple and right aims, thorough mastery of handi- 
craft, splendid invention of arrangement, and unerring 
common sense in treatment. The reason that Greek art 
so often disappoints people is that indiscriminate and un- 
informed laudation leads them to look in it for something 
that is not there, such as the Greek ideal of beauty ; 
whereas the Greek race was not at all one of exalted 
beauty, hut only of general and healthy completeness of 
form. There is not a single instance of a very beautiful 
head left by the highest school of Greek art. You may 
take the Venus of Melos as a standard of beauty of the 
central Greek type. She has tranquil, regular, and lofty 
features ; but could not hold her own for a moment 
against the beauty of a simple English girl of pure race 
and kind heart. Queen of the Air, 169. 

This is more extensively considered in the chapter on 
" Schools of Sculpture." 



d. Drapery. It is a rule that nothing must be repre- 
sented by sculpture, external to any living form, which 
does not help to enforce or illustrate the conception of life. 
Both dress and armour may be made to do this by great 
sculptors, and are continually so used by the greatest. 
One of the essential distinctions between the Athenian and 
Florentine schools is dependent on their treatment of dra- 
pery in this respect : an Athenian always sets it to exhibit 
the action of the body, by flowing with it, or over it, or 
from it, so as to illustrate both its form and gesture ; a 
Florentine, on the contrary, always uses his drapery to 
conceal or disguise the forms of the body, and exhibit 
mental emotion / but both use it to enhance the life, 
either of the body or soul. Donatello and Michael An- 
gelo, no less than the sculptors of Gothic chivalry, ennoble 
armour in- the same way ; but base sculptors carve drapery 
and armour for the sake of their folds and picturesqueness 
only, and forget the body beneath. The rule is so stern 
that all delight in mere incidental beauty, which painting 
often triumphs in, is wholly forbidden to sculpture ; — for 
instance, in painting the branch of a tree you may rightly 
represent and enjoy the lichens and moss on it, but a 
sculptor must not touch one of them ; they are unessential 
to the tree's life — he must give the flow and bending of 
the branch only. A. P., 94. 

In " The Seven Lamps of Architecture," ch. iv., § xi., 
E-uskin says : Drapery, as such, is always ignoble ; it be- 
comes a subject of interest only by the colour it bears, and 
the impression it receives from some foreign form or force. 
All noble draperies, either in painting or sculpture, have, 
so far as they are anything more than necessities, one of 
two great functions ; they are the exponents of motion and 
of gravitation. They are the most valuable means of ex- 
pressing past as well as present motion in the figure, and 



they are almost the only means of indicating to the eye 
the force of gravity which resists such motion. The Greeks 
used drapery in sculpture for the most part as an ugly ne- 
cessity, but availed themselves of it gladly in all represen- 
tation of action, exaggerating the arrangements of it which 
express lightness in the material, and follow gesture in 
the person. The Christian sculptors, caring little for the 
body, or disliking it, and depending exclusively on the coun- 
tenance, received drapery at first contentedly as a veil, but 
soon perceived a capacity of expression in it which the 
Greek had not seen, or had despised. The principal ele- 
ment of this expression was the entire removal of agitation 
from what was so pre-eminently capable of being agitated. 
It fell from their human forms plumb down, sweeping the 
ground heavily, and concealing the feet ; while the Greek 
drapery was blown away from the thigh. The thick and 
coarse stuffs of the monkish dresses, so absolutely opposed 
to the thin and gauzy web of antique material, suggested 
simplicity of division as well as weight of fall. There 
was no crushing nor subdividing them. And thus the dra- 
pery began to represent the spirit of repose, as it before 
had of motion, repose saintly and severe. The wind had 
no power upon the garment, as the passion none upon the 
soul ; and the motion of the figure only bent into a softer > 
line the stillness of the falling veil, followed by it, like a 
slow cloud, by dropping rain ; only in links of lighter un- 
dulation it followed the dances of the angels. 

Thus treated, drapery is indeed noble ; but it is as an ex- 
ponent of other and higher things. As that of gravitation 
it has especial majesty, being literally the only means we 
have of fully representing this mysterious natural force of 
the earth (for falling water is less passive and less defined 
in its lines). So, again, in sails it is beautiful because it 
receives the forms of solid curved surface, and expresses 
the force of another invisible element. But drapery trust- 



ed to its own merits, and given for its own sake — drapery 
like that of Carlo Dolce and the Carraccio — is always base. 

e. Accessories inadmissible. Every accessory in paint- 
ing is valuable, but not one can be admitted in sculpture. 
You must carve nothing but what has life. It is the 
Greeks who say it, but whatever they say of sculpture 
be assured is right. For instance, here is an exquisite 
little painted poem by Edward Frere, a cottage interior. 
Every accessory in the painting is of value — the fireside, 
the tiled floor, the vegetables lying upon it, and the basket 
hanging from the roof. The poor little girl was more in- 
teresting to Edward Frere, he being a painter, because she 
was poorly dressed, and wore those clumsy shoes and old 
red cap and patched gown. May we sculpture her so ? ~No. 
We may sculpture her naked if we like, but not in rags. 

But if we may not put her into marble in rags, may we 
give her a pretty frock with ribands and flounces to it, and 
put her in marble in that ? No. We may put her simplest 
peasant dress, so it be perfect and orderly, into marble ; 
anything finer than that would be more dishonourable in 
the eyes of the Athenians than rags. If she were a French 
princess you might carve her embroidered robe and dia- 
dem ; if she were Joan of Arc you might carve her ar- 
mour, if she has it on. It is not the honourableness or 
beauty of it that are enough, but the direct bearing of it 
by her body. A. P., 96. 

f. Grouping* Much fine formative arrangement de- 
pends on a more or less elliptical or pear-shaped balance of 
the group, obtained by arranging the principal members of 
it on two opposite curves, and either centralizing it by some 
powerful feature at the base, centre, or summit, or else clasp- 
ing it together by some conspicuous point or knot. A very 
smajl object will often do this satisfactorily. 5 m. P. 181. 

* See Laws of Grouping, page 99. 



g. Lines. — 1. Lines of Motive. We must remember that 
a great composition always has a leading emotional purpose, 
technically called its motive, to which all its lines and 
forms have some relation. Undulating, and a majority of 
angular lines, for instance, are expressive of action, and 
would be false in effect if the motive of the composition 
was one of repose. Horizontal and some angular lines 
are expressive of rest and strength ; and would destroy 
a design whose purpose was to express disquiet and fee- 
bleness. It is therefore necessary to ascertain the motive 
before descending to detail. 5 M. P., 175. 

2. Truth of Lines. The difference in the accuracy of 
the lines of the Torso of the Vatican (the Maestro of M. 
Angelo) from those in one of M. Angelo's finest works, 
could, perhaps, scarcely be appreciated by any eye or feel- 
ing undisciplined by the most perfect and practical ana- 
tomical knowledge. It rests on points of such traceless and 
refined delicacy, that though we feel them in the result, 
we cannot follow them in the details, yet they are such 
and so great as to place the Torso alone in art solitary and 
supreme ; while the finest of M. Angelo's works, considered 
with respect to truth alone, are said to be on a level with 
antiques of the second class, under the Apollo and the 
Venus, that is, two classes or grades below the Torso. But 
suppose the best sculptor in the world, possessing the most 
entire appreciation of the excellence, were to sit down, pen 
in hand, to try to tell us wherein the peculiar truth of 
each line consisted. Could any words that he could use 
make us feel the hairbreadth of depth and distance on 
which all depends ? or end in anything more than the bare 
assertion of the inferiority of this line to that, which, if 
we did not perceive for ourselves, no explanations could 
ever illustrate to us? He might as well endeavour to ex- 
plain to us by words some taste or other subject of sense 



of which we had no experience. And so it is with all 
truths of the highest order; they are separated from those 
of average precision by points of extreme delicacy, which 
none but a cultivated eye can in the least feel, and to ex- 
press which, all words are absolutely meaningless and 
useless. Two lines are laid on canvas or cut on stone ; 
one is right and another wrong. There is no difference 
between them appreciable by the compasses — none appre- 
ciable by the ordinary eye — none which can be pointed out 
if it is not seen. One person feels it, another does not ; 
but the feeling or sight of the one can by no words be 
communicated to the other. That feeling and that sight 
have been the reward of years of labour. l M. p., 404. 

3. Lines of Beauty and Grace. That all forms of 
acknowledged beauty are composed exclusively of curves 
will, I believe, be at once allowed ; but that which there 
will be more need especially to prove is the subtilty and 
constancy of curvature in all natural forms whatsoever. 
I believe that except in crystals, in certain mountain forms, 
admitted for the sake of sublimity or contrasts (as in the 
slope of debris), in rays of light, in the levels of calm 
water and alluvial land, and in some few organic develop- 
ments, there are no lines or surfaces of nature without 
curvature. Right lines are often suggested which are not 
actual. For the most part the eye is fed on natural forms 
with a grace of curvature which no hand nor instrument 
can follow. 2 M. P., 45. 

All curves, however, are not equally beautiful, and their 
differences of beauty depend on the different proportions 
borne to each other by those infinitely small right lines of 
which they may be conceived as composed. When these 
lines are equal and contain equal angles, there can be 
no unity of sequence in them. The resulting curve, 



the circle, is therefore the least beautiful of all curves. 
The simplest of the beautiful curves are the conic 
and the various spirals; but it is as rash as it is diffi- 
cult to endeavour to trace any ground of superiority or 
inferiority among the infinite number of the higher 
curves. 2 M. P., 59. 

4. Lines of Repose. Hence I think that there is no 
desire more intense or more exalted than that which exists 
in all rightly disciplined minds for the evidences of repose 
in external signs, and what I cautiously said respecting in- 
finity, I say fearlessly respecting repose, that no work of 
art can be great without it, and that all art is great in pro- 
portion to the appearance of it. It is the most unfailing 
test of beauty, whether of matter or of motion, nothing can 
be ignoble that possesses it, nothing right that has it not, 
and in strict proportion to its appearance in the work is the 
majesty of mind to be inferred in the artificer. Without 
regard to other qualities, we may look to this for our evi- 
dence, and by the search for this alone we may be led to the 
rejection of all that is base, and the accepting of all that is 
good and great, for the paths of wisdom are all peace. We 
shall see by this light three colossal images standing up side 
by side, looming in their great rest of spirituality above the 
whole world horizon, Phidias, Michael AngelOj and Dante ; 
and then, separated from their great religious thrones only 
by less fulness and earnestness of Faith, Homer, and 
Shakspeare ; and from these we may go down step by step 
among the mighty men of every age, securely and certainly 
observant of diminished lustre in every appearance of 
restlessness and effort, until the last trace of true inspira- 
tion vanishes in the tottering affectations or the tortured 
insanities of modern times. There is no art, no pursuit, 
whatsoever, but its results may be classed by this test 
alone; everything of evil is betrayed and winnowed away 



by it, glitter and confusion and glare of color, inconsistency 
or absence of thought, forced expression, evil choice of 
subject, over-accumulation of materials, whether in paint- 
ing or literature, the shallow and unreflecting nothingness 
of the English schools of art, the strained and disgusting 
horrors of the French, the distorted feverishness of the 
German : — pretence, over-decoration, over-division of parts 
in architecture, and again in music, in acting, in dancing, 
in whatsoever art, great or mean, there are yet degrees of 
greatness or meanness entirely dependent on this single 
quality of repose. 

Particular instances are at present both needless and 
cannot but be inadequate ; needless, because I suppose 
that every reader, however limited his experience of art, 
can supply many for himself, and inadequate, because no 
number of them could illustrate the full extent of the in- 
fluence of the expression. I believe, however, that by 
comparing the disgusting convulsions of the Laocoon with 
the Elgin Theseus, we may obtain a general idea of the 
effect of the influence, as shown by its absence in one, and 
presence in the other, of two works which, as far as 
artistical merit is concerned, are in some measure parallel, 
not that I believe, even in this respect, the Laocoon 
justifiably comparable with the Theseus. I suppose that 
no group has exercised so pernicious an influence on art as 
this, a subject ill chosen, meanly conceived and unnaturally 
treated, recommended to imitation by subtleties of execu- 
tion and accumulation of technical knowledge."* 

* I would also have the reader compare with the meagre lines and 
contemptible tortures of the Laocoon, the awfulness and quietness of 31. 
Angelo's treatment of a subject in most respects similar (the Plague of 
the Fiery Serpents), but of which the choice was justified both by the 
place which the event holds in the typical system he had to arrange, 
and by the grandeur of the plague itself, in its multitudinous grasp, and 
its mystical salvation ; sources of sublimity entirely wanting to the 
slaughter of the Dardan priest. It is good to see how his gigantic in- 



In Christian art, it would be well to compare the feel- 
ing of the finer among the altar tombs of the middle 
ages, with any monumental works after Michael Angelo, 
perhaps more especially with works of Roubilliac or 

In the Cathedral of Lucca, near the entrance door of 
the north transept, there is a monument of Jacopo delta 
Quercia's to Ilaria di Caretto, the wife of Paolo Guinigi. 

tellect reaches after repose, and truthfully finds it, in the falling- hand 
of the near figure, and in the deathful decline of that whose hands are 
held up even in their venomed coldness to the cross ; and though irrel- 
evant to our present purpose, it is well also to note how the grandeur of 
this treatment results, not merely from choice, but from a greater 
knowledge and more faithful rendering of truth. For whatever knowl- 
edge of the human frame there may be in the Laocoon, there is 
certainly none of the habits of serpents. The fixing of the snake's head 
in the side of the principal figure is as false to nature as it is poor in 
composition of line. A large serpent never wants to bite, it wants to 
hold, it seizes therefore always where it can hold best, by the extrem- 
ities, or throat, it seizes once and forever, and that before it coils, fol- 
lowing up the seizure with the twist of its body round the victim, as 
invisibly swift as the twist of a whip lash round any hard object it may 
strike, and then it holds fast, never moving the jaws or the body ; if its 
prey has any power of struggling left, it throws round another coil, 
without quitting the hold with the jaws; if Laocoon had had to do with 
real serpents, instead of pieces of tape with heads to them, he would 
have been held still, and not allowed to throw his arms or legs about. 
It is most instructive to observe the accuracy of Michael Angelo in the 
rendering of these circumstances ; the binding of the arms to the body, 
and the knotting of the whole mass of agony together, until we hear 
the crashing of the bones beneath the grisly sliding of the engine -folds. 
Note also the expression in all the figures of another circumstance, the 
torpor and cold numbness of the limbs induced by the serpent venom, 
which, though justifiably overlooked by the sculptor of the Laocoon, as 
well as by Virgil — in consideration of the rapidity of the death by 
crushing, adds infinitely to the power of the Florentine's conception, 
and would have been better hinted by Virgil than that sickening distri- 
bution of venom on the garlands. In fact, Virgil has missed both of 
truth and impressiveness every way — the "morsu depascitur" is un- 
natural butchery — the "perfusus veneno" gratuitous foulness — the 



I name it not as more beautiful or perfect than other 
examples of the same period, but as furnishing an instance 
of the exact and right mean between the rigidity and rude- 
ness of the earlier monumental effigies, and the morbid 
imitation of life, sleep, or death, of which the fashion has 
taken place in modern times.* She is lying on a simple 
couch, with a hound at her feet, not on the side, but with 
the head laid straight and simply on the hard pillow, in 
which, let it be observed, there is no effort at deceptive im- 
itation of pressure. It is understood as a pillow, but not 
mistaken for one. The hair is bound in a flat braid over 

" clamores liorrendos," impossible degradation; compare carefully the 
remarks on this statue in Sir Charles Bell's Essay on Expression (third 
edition, p. 192), where he has most wisely and uncontrovertibly deprived 
the statue of all claim to expression of energy and fortitude of mind, 
and shown its common and coarse intent of mere bodily exertion and 
agony, while he has confirmed Payne Knight's just condemnation of the 
passage in Virgil. 

If the reader wishes to see the opposite or imaginative view of the 
subject, let him compare Wihkelmann ; and Schiller, Letters on 
iEsthetic Culture. 

* Whenever, in monumental work, the sculptor reaches a deceptive 
appearance of life or death, or of concomitant details, he has gone too 
far. The statue should be felt for such, not look like a dead or sleep- 
ing body ; it should not convey the impression of a corpse, nor of sick 
and outwearied flesh, but it should be the marble image of death or 
weariness. So the concomitants should be distinctly marble, severe 
and monumental in their lines, not shroud, not bedclothes, not actual 
armour nor brocade, not a real soft pillow, not a downright hard stuffed 
mattress, but the mere type and suggestion of these : a certain rude- 
ness and incompletion of finish is very noble in all. Not that they are 
to be unnatural, such lines as are given should be pure and true, and 
clear of the hardness and mannered rigidity of the strictly Gothic types, 
but lines so few and grand as to appeal to the imagination only, and 
always to stop short of realization. There is a monument put up lately 
by a modern Italian sculptor in one of the side cnapels of Santa Croce, 
the face fine and the execution dexterous. But it looks as if the per- 
son had been restless all night, and the artist admitted to a faithful 
study of the disturbed bedclothes in the morning. 



the fair brow, the sweet and arched eyes are closed, 
the tenderness of the loving lips is set and quiet, there 
is that about them which forbids breath, something 
which is not death nor sleep, but the pure image of 
both. The hands are not lifted in prayer, neither folded, 
but the arms are laid at length 1123011 the body, and the 
hands cross as they fall. The feet are hidden by the 
drapery, and the forms of the limbs concealed, but not 
their tenderness. 

If any of us, after staying for a time beside this tomb, 
could see, through his tears, one of the vain and unkind 
encumbrances of the grave, which, in these hollow and 
heartless days, feigned sorrow builds to foolish pride, he 
would, I believe, receive such a lesson of love as no cold- 
ness could refuse, no fatuity forget, and no insolence dis- 
obey. 2 M. P. 67. 

h. Of Symmetry and Proportion. In all perfectly 
beautiful objects there is found the opposition of one 
part to another and a reciprocal balance obtained ; in 
animals the balance being commonly between opposite 
sides (note the disagreeableness occasioned by the excep- 
tion in flat fish, having the eyes on one side of the head), 
but in vegetables the opposition is less distinct, as in the 
boughs on opposite sides of trees, and the leaves and sprays 
on each side of the boughs, and in dead matter less per- 
fect still, often amounting only to a certain tendency to- 
wards a balance, as in the opposite sides of valleys and 
alternate windings of streams. In things in which perfect 
symmetry is from their nature impossible or improper, a 
balance must be at least in some measure expressed before 
they can be be held with pleasure. Hence the necessity 
of what artists require as opposing lines or masses in 
composition, the propriety of which, as well as their 
value, depends chiefly on their inartificial and natural in- 



vention. Absolute equality is not required, still less ab- 
solute similarity. A mass of subdued colour may be 
balanced by a point of a powerful one, and a long and • 
latent line overpowered by a short and conspicuous one. 
The only error against which it is necessary to guard the 
reader with respect to symmetry is the confounding it 
with proportion, though it seems strange that the two 
terms could ever have been used as synonymous. Sym- 
metry is the opposition of equal quantities to each other. 
Proportion the connection of unequal quantities with each 
other. The property of a tree in sending out equal 
boughs on opposite sides is symmetrical. Its sending out 
shorter and smaller towards the top, proportional. In the 
human face its balance of opposite sides is symmetry, its 
division upwards, proportion. 

Vitruvius, presenting the proportions observed in Gre- 
cian statues, says : " Nature in the composition of the 
human frame has so ordained that naturally and ordinarily 
there should be such a proportion that the face, from the 
chin to the top of the forehead or roots of the hair, should 
be one tenth part of the whole stature ; while the same 
proportion is preserved in the hand measured from the 
bend of the wrist to the tip of the middle finger. If the 
distance from the chin to the roots of the hair be divided 
into three parts, one of these terminates at the nostrils, the 
other at the eyebrows. The foot is a sixth of the stature ; 
the cubit, or distance from the elbow to the tip of the mid- 
dle finger, and also the breadth of the chest is a fourth. 
In the female figure the height is about one tenth less than 
in the male. The Apollo Belvidere is a little more than 
seven heads high, and the foot on which he stands is two 
and one fifth inches longer than his head. Albert Durer 
makes his figures eight heads tall, and the length of 
the foot one sixth of their height. The shape of the 
Venus is uncommonly slender. Her height is within a 



fraction of five feet, and not more than seven and a half 

Whether the agreeableness of symmetry be in any way 
referable to its expression of the Aristotelian tWr???, that 
is to say of abstract justice, I leave the reader to deter- 
mine ; I only assert respecting it, that it is necessary to 
the dignity of every form, and that by the removal of it 
we shall render the other elements of beauty compara- 
tively ineffectual : though on the other hand it is to be 
observed that it is rather a mode of arrangement of 
qualities than a quality itself ; and hence symmetry has 
little power over the mind, unless all the other constituents 
of beauty be found together with it. A form may be 
symmetrical and ugly, as many Elizabethan ornaments, 
and yet not so ugly as it had been if unsymmetrical, hut 
bettered always by increasing degrees of symmetry ; as 
in star figures, wherein there is a circular symmetry of 
many like members, whence their frequent use for the 
plan and ground of ornamental designs ; so also it is ob- 
servable that foliage in which the leaves are concentric- 
ally grouped, as in the chestnuts and many shrubs — rho- 
dodendrons for instance — (whence the perfect beauty of 
the Alpine rose) — is f ar nobler in its effect than any other, 
so that the sweet chestnut of all trees most fondly and 
frequently occurs in the landscape of Tintoret and Titian, 
beside which all other landscape grandeur vanishes ; and 
even in the meanest things the rule holds, as in the ka- 
leidoscope, wherein agreeableness is given to forms alto- 
gether accidental merely by their repetition and reciprocal 
opposition ; which orderly balance and arrangement are 
essential to the perfect operation of the more earnest and 
solemn qualities of the beautiful, as being heavenly in 
their nature, and contrary to the violence and disorganiza- 
tion of sin, so that the seeking of them and submission 
to them is always marked in minds that have been sub-. 



jected to high moral discipline, constant in all the great 
religions painters, to the degree of being an offence and 
a scorn to men of less timed and tranquil feeling. Equal 
ranks of saints are placed on each side of the picture, if 
there be a kneeling figure on one side, there is a corre- 
sponding one on the other, the attendant angels beneath 
and above are arranged in like order. The Raffaelle at 
Blenheim, the Madonna di St. Sisto, the St. Cicilia, and all 
the works of Perugino, Francia, and John Bellini present 
some such form, and the balance at least is preserved even 
in pictures of action necessitating variety of grouping, as 
always by Giotto ; and by Ghirlandajo in the introduc- 
tion of his chorus-like side figures, and by Tintoret most 
eminently in his noblest work, the Crucifixion, where not 
only the grouping but the arrangement of light is abso- 
lutely symmetrical. Where there is no symmetry, the 
effects of passion and violence are increased, and many 
very sublime pictures derive their sublimity from the 
want of it, but they lose proportionally in the diviner 
quality of beauty. In landscape the same sense of sym~ 
metry is preserved, as we shall presently see, even to 
artificialness, by the greatest men, and it is one of the 
principal sources of deficient feeling in the landscapes of 
the present day, that the symmetry of nature is sacrificed 
to irregular pictnresqueness. 2 M. P., 71. 

i. Unity. To the perfection in the beauty in lines, or 
colours, or forms, or masses, or multitudes, the appear- 
ance of some species of unity is, in the most determined 
sense of the word, essential. 

First, there is suhjectional unity, or the unity of differ- 
ent and separate things subjected to one and the same 
influence, as of the clouds driven by the parallel winds, 
or as they are ordered by the electric currents — and this 
of the unity of the sea waves, and this of the bending and 



undulation of the forest masses ; and in creatures capable 
of will, it is the unity of will or of inspiration. 

Second, there is the unity of origin, which is of things, 
arising from one spring and source, as the unity of broth- 
erhood in man ; and this in matter is the unity of the 
branches of the trees, and of the petals and starry rays 
of flowers, and of beams of light. 

Third, there is the unity of sequence, as that of things 
that form links in chains, steps in ascent, and stages in 
journeys; and this in matter is the unity of communicated 
force from object to object, the beauty of continuous lines, 
and the orderly succession of motions and times. 

Fourth, there is the unity of membership, or essential 
unity, which is unity of things, separately imperfect, into 
a perfect whole. This is harmony. 

But this unity cannot exist between things similar to 
each other. Two or more equal or like things cannot be 
members one of another, nor can they form one or a 
whole thing. Two they must remain, both in nature and 
in our conception, so long as they remain alike, unless 
they are united by a third, different from both. Thus : 
the arms, which are alike each other, remain two arms in 
our conception : they could not be united by a third arm ; 
they must be united by something which is not an arm, 
and which, imperfect without them as they without it, 
shall form one perfect body ; nor is unity even thus ac- 
complished without a difference and opposition of direc- 
tion in the setting on of like members. 2 M/P., 51. 

j. Variety. Hence out of the necessity of unity arises 
that of variety. Its principle in our nature is the love of 
change and the power of contrast. But it is not variety 
as such, and in its highest degree, that is beautiful. A 
patched garment of many colours is not so agreeable as 
one of a single and continuous hue. A forest of all man- 



ner of trees is poor, compared to a mass of trees of one 
species. Therefore it is only harmonious and chordal 
variety which is necessary to secure and extend unity that 
is rightly agreeable. 21. P., 52. 

h. Harmony. Harmony consists neither in likeness nor 
difference of parts, but only in that particular imperfec- 
tion in each of the harmonizing parts which can only be 
supplied by its fellow part. The several parts must make 
one complete whole. If one of them be perfect by itself, 
the other will be an excrescence. Both must be faulty 
when separate, and each corrected by the presence of the 
other. If the artist can accomplish this, the result will 
be beautiful : it will be a whole, an organized body, with 
dependent members; — he is an inventor. If not, let his 
separate features be as beautiful, as apposite, or as resem- 
blant as they may, they form no whole ; they are two mem- 
bers glued together. He is only a carpenter and joiner. 

I. Exaggeration. As exaggeration is the vice of all 
bad artists, and may be constantly resorted to without any 
warrant of imagination, it is necessary to note strictly the 
admissible limits. 

A colossal statue is necessarily no more an exaggera- 
tion of what it represents than a miniature is a diminu- 
tion. It need not be a representation of a giant, but a 
representation, on a large scale, of a man ; only it is to be 
observed, that as any plane intersecting a cone of rays 
between us and the object must receive an image smaller 
than the object, a small image is rationally and completely 
expressive of a larger one; but not a large of a small one. 
Hence I think that all statues above the Elgin standard, 
or that of Michael Angelo's Night and Morning, are, in a 
measure, taken by the eye for representations of giants, 
and I think them always disagreeable. The amount of 



exaggeration admitted by Michael Angelo is valuable be- 
cause it separates the emblematic from the human form, 
and gives greater freedom to the lines of the frame. For 
notice of his scientific system of increase of size reference 
is made to Sir Charles Bell's remarks on the statues of the 
Medici Chapel ; but there is one circumstance which Sir 
Charles has not noticed — the extremities are exceedingly 
small in proportion to the limbs, by which means there is 
an expression given of strength and activity greater than 
in the ordinary human type, which appears to me to be an 
allowance for that alteration in proportion necessitated by 
the increase of size ; not but that Michael Angelo always 
makes the extremities comparatively small, but smallest 
comparatively in his largest works. Such adaptations are 
not necessary when the exaggerated image is spectral ; for 
as the laws of matter in that case can have no operation, 
we may expand the form as far as we choose, only let 
careful distinction be made between the size of the thing 
represented and the scale of the representation. The can- 
vas on which Fuseli has stretched his Satan in the schools 
of the Royal Academy is a mere concession to inability. 
He might have made him look more gigantic in one of a 
foot square. 2 M. P., 204. 

m. Anatomy. Such muscular development as is neces- 
sary to the perfect beauty of the body is to be rendered ; 
but that which is necessary to strength, or which appears 
to have been the result of laborious exercise, is inad- 
missible. No herculean form is spiritual, for it is degrad- 
ing the spiritual creature to suppose it operative through 
impulse of bone and sinew ; its power is immaterial and 
constant, neither dependent on nor developed by exertion. 
Generally it is well to conceal anatomical development as 
far as may ; even Michael Angelo's anatomy interferes 
with his divinity. How far it is possible to subdue or 



generalize the naked form I venture not to affirm, but I 
believe it is best to conceal it, as far as may , not with 
draperies light and undulating, that fall in with and ex- 
hibit its principal lines, but with draperies severe and lin- 
ear, such as were constantly employed before the time of 
Raffaelle. I recollect no single instance of a naked angel 
that does not look boylike or childlike and unspiritualized ; 
even Fra Bartolemeo's might with advantage be spared 
from the pictures at Lucca, and, in the hands of inferior 
men, the sky is merely encumbered with sprawling infants ; 
those of Domenichio, in the Madonna del Rosario, and 
Martyrdom of St. Agnes, are peculiarly off ensive studies of 
bare-legged children, howling and kicking in volumes of 
smoke. Confusion seems to exist in the minds of subse- 
quent painters between Angels and Cupids. 

n. Bas-relief. The art of bas-relief is to give the effect 
of true form on flatness of surface. If nothing - more 
were needed than to make first the cast of a solid form, 
then cut it in half, and apply the half of it to flat sur- 
face; — if, for instance, to carve a bas-relief of an apple, 
all I had to do was to cut my sculpture of the whole 
apple in half, and pin it to the wall : any ordinary trained 
sculptor, or even a mechanical workman, could produce 
a bas-relief ; but the business is to carve a round thing 
out of a, flat thing ; — to carve an apple out of a biscuit ; — 
to conquer as a subtle Florentine has conquered his mar- 
ble, so as not only to get motion into what is most 
rigidly fixed, but to get boundlessness into what is most 
narrowly bounded ; and carve Madonna and Child, roll- 
ing clouds, flying angels, and space of heavenly air behind 
all, out of a film of stone not the third of an inch thick 
where it is the thickest. 

The design in solid sculpture involves considerations of 
Weight in mass, 





Perspective and opposition, 
Projecting forms, 

Restraint of those which mnst not project, 
such as none but the greatest masters have ever com- 
pletely solved, and these not always. 

The schools of good sculpture, considered in relation to 
projection, divide themselves into four entirely distinct 
groups : 

1st. Flat Relief, in which the surface is, in many- 
places, absolutely flat ; and the expression depends greatly 
on the lines of its outer contour, and on the fine incisions 
within them. 

2d. Round Relief, in which, as in the best coins, the 
sculptured mass projects so as to be capable of complete 
modulation into form, but is not anywhere undercut. 
The formation of a coin by the blow of a die necessitates, 
of course, severest obedience to this law. 

3d. Edged Relief. Undercutting admitted so as to throw 
out the forms against a background of shadows. 

4th. Full Relief The statue completely solid in form, 
and unreduced in retreating depth of it, yet connected 
locally with some definite part of the building, so as to be 
still dependent on the shadow of its background and di- 
rection of protective line. 

The laws of sight and distance determine the proper 
depth of bas-relief. Suppose that depth fixed ; then observe 
what a pretty problem, or, rather, continually varying 
cluster of problems will be offered us. You might at first 
imagine that, given what we may call our scale of solidity, 
or scale of depth, the diminution from nature would be 
in regular proportion, as, for instance, if the real depth of 
your subject be, suppose a foot, and the depth of your bas- 
relief an inch, then the parts of the real subject which were 
six inches round the side of it would be carved, you might 


imagine, at the depth of half an inch, and so the whole 
thing mechanically reduced to a scale. But not a bit 
of it. Here is a Greek bas-relief of a chariot with two 
horses ; your whole subject, therefore, has the depth of two 
horses, side by side, say six or eight feet,, your bas-relief 
has, on the scale, say the depth of the third of an inch: 
Now, if you gave only the sixth of an inch for the depth 
of the off horse, and, dividing him again, only the twelfth 
of an inch for that of each foreleg, you would make him 
look a mile awaj from the other, and his own forelegs a 
mile apart. The Greek has made the near leg of the off 
horse project much beyond the off leg of the near horse, 
and has put nearly the whole depth and power of his re- 
lief into the breast of the off horse, thus giving a most 
effective treatment to his perspective, projections and 
shadows. A. P., 149. 


The conditions necessary for the production of a perfect 
school of sculpture have only twice been met in the his- 
tory of the world, and then for a short time; nor for a 
short time only, but also in narroio districts, namely, in the 
valleys and Islands of Ionian Greece, and in the strip 
of land deposited by the Arno, between the Apennine 
crests and the sea. 

I All other schools, except these two, led severally by 
Athens in the fifth century before Christ, and by Flor- 
ence in the fifteenth of our own era, are imperfect ; and 
the best of them are derivative : these two are consummate 
in themselves, and the origin of what is best in others. 

And observe, these Athenian and Florentine schools are 
both of equal rank, as essentially original and indepen- 
dent. The Florentine, being subsequent to the Greek, 
borrowed much from it; but it would have existed just 
ae strongly — and, perhaps, in some respects more nobly — 



had it been the first, instead of the latter of the two. The 
task set to each of these mightiest of the nations was, in- 
deed, practically the same, and as hard to the one as to 
the other. The Greeks found Phoenician and Etruscan 
art monstrous, and had to make them human. The 
Italians found Byzantine and Norman art monstrous, and 
had to make them human. The original power in the 
one case is easily traced ; in the other it has partly to be 
unmasked, because the change at Florence was, in many 
points, suggested and stimulated by the former school. 
But we mistake in supposing that Athens taught Florence 
the laws of design; she taught her, in reality, only the 
duty of truth. 

You remember that I told you the highest art could do 
no more than rightly represent the human form. This 
is the simple test, then, of a perfect school, — that it has 
represented the human form so that it is impossible to 
conceive of its being better done. And that, I repeat, has 
been accomplished twice only : once in Athens, once in 
Florence. And so narrow is the excellence even of these 
two exclusive schools, that it cannot be said of either of 
them that they represented the entire human form. The 
Greeks perfectly drew, and pjerfectly moidded the body 
and limbs ; but there is, so far as I am aware, no instance 
of their representing the face as well as any great Italian. 
On the other hand, the Italian painted and carved the 
face insuperably ; but I believe there is no instance of 
his having perfectly represented the body, which, by com- 
mand of his religion, it became his pride to despise, and 
his safety to mortify. 

The general course of your study here renders it de- 
sirable that you should be accurately acquainted with the 
leading principles of Greek sculpture ; but I cannot lay 
these before you without giving undue prominence to 
some of the special merits of that school, unless I pre- 



viously indicate the relation it holds to the more advanced, 
though less disciplined, excellence of Christian art. 

In this and the last lecture of the present course," I 
shall endeavour, therefore, to mass for you, in such rude 
and diagram-like outline as may be possible or intelligible, 
the main characteristics of the two schools, completing 
and correcting the details of comparison afterwards ; and 
not answering, observe, at present, for any generalization 
I give you, except as a ground for subsequent closer and 
more qualified statements. 

And in carrying out this parallel, I shall speak indiffer- 
ently of works of sculpture, and of the modes of painting 
which propose to themselves the same objects as sculp- 
ture. And this, indeed, Florentine, as opposed to Vene- 
tian painting, and that of Athens in the fifth century, 
nearly always did. 

I begin, therefore, by comparing two designs of the 
simplest kind — engravings, or, at least, linear drawings 
both ; one on clay, one on copper, made in the central 
periods of each style, and representing the same goddess — 
Aphrodite. The first is from a patera lately found at 
Camirus, authoritatively assigned by Mr. Newton, in his 
recent catalogue, to the best period of Greek art. The 
second is from one of the series of engravings executed, 
probably, by Baccio Baldini, in 14S5, out of which I 
chose your first practical exercise — the sceptre of Apollo. 
I cannot, how r ever, make the comparison accurate in all 
respects, for I am obliged to set the restricted type of the 

* The closing Lecture, on the religious temper of the Florentine, 
though necessary for the complete explanation of the subject to my 
class, at the time, introduced new points of inquiry which I do not 
choose to lay before the general reader until they can be examined in 
fuller sequence. The present volume, therefore, closes with the Sixth 
Lecture, and that on Christian art will be given as the first of the pub- 
lished course on Florentine Sculpture. 



Aphrodite Urania of the Greeks beside the universal 
Deity conceived by the Italian as governing the air, earth, 
and sea ; nevertheless the restriction in the mind of the 
Greek, and expatiation in that of the Florentine, are both 
characteristic. The Greek Terms Urania is flying in 
heaven, her power over the waters symbolized by her 
being borne by a swan, and her power over the earth by a 
single flower in her right hand ; but the Italian Aphrodite 
is rising out of the actual sea, and only half risen ; her 
limbs are still in the sea, her merely animal strength fill- 
ing the waters with their life ; but her body to the loins is 
in the sunshine, her face raised to the sky ; her hand is 
about to lay a garland of flowers on the earth. 

The Terms Urania of the Greeks, in her relation to men, 
has power only over lawful and domestic love ; therefore, 
she is fully dressed, and not only quite dressed, but most 
daintily and trimly : her feet delicately sandalled, her 
gown spotted with little stars, her hair brushed exquisitely 
smooth at the top of her head, trickling in minute waves 
down her forehead ; and though, because there's such a 
quantity of it, she can't possibly help having a chignon, 
look how tightly she has fastened it in with her broad 
fillet. Of course she is married, so she must wear a cap 
with pretty minute pendant jewels at the border; and a 
very small necklace, all that her husband can properly 
afford, just enough to go closely round the neck, and no 
more. On the contrary, the Aphrodite of the Italian, 
being universal love, is pure-naked ; and her long hair is 
thrown wild to the wind and sea. 
1. These primal differences in the symbolism, observe, are 
only because the artists are thinking of separate "powers / 
they do not necessarily involve any national distinction in 
feeling. But the differences I have next to indicate are 
essential, and characterize the two opposed national modes 
of mind. 



First, and chiefly. The Greek Aphrodite is a very 
pretty person, and the Italian a decidedly plain one. 
That is because a Greek thought no one could possibly 
love any but pretty people ; but an Italian thought that 
love could give dignity to the meanest form that it in- 
habited, and light to the poorest that it looked upon. So 
his Aphrodite will not condescend to be pretty. 

Secondly. In the Greek Yenus the breasts are broad 
and full, though perfectly severe in their almost conical 
profile ; — (you are allowed on purpose to see the outline 
of the right breast, under the chiton) ; — also the right arm 
is left bare, and you can just see the contour of the front 
of the right limb and knee ; both arm and limb pure and 
firm, but lovely. The plant she holds in her hand is a 
branching and flowering one, the seed vessel prominent. 
These sioris all mean that her essential function is child- 



On the contrary, in the Italian Yenus the breasts are so 
small as to be scarcely traceable ; the body strong and 
almost masculine in its angles ; the arms meagre and un- 
attractive, and she lays a decorative garlaud of flowers on 
the earth. These siorts mean that the Italian thought of 
love as the strength of an eternal spirit, forever helpful ; 
and forever crowned with flowers, that neither know 
seed-time nor harvest, and bloom where there is neither 
death nor birth. 

Thirdly. The* Greek Aphrodite is entirely calm, and 
looks straightforward. Xot one feature of her face is 
disturbed, or seems ever to have been subject to emotion. 
The Italian xVphrodite looks up, her face all quivering 
and burning with passion and wasting anxiety. The 
Greek one is quiet, self-possessed, and self-satisfied ; the 
Italian incapable of rest ; she has had no thought nor care 
for herself ; her hair has been bound by a fillet like the 
Greeks ; but it is now all fallen loose, and clotted with 



the sea, or clinging to her body ; only the front tress of it 
is caught by the breeze from her raised forehead, and 
lifted, in the place where the tongues of fire rest on the 
brows, in the early Christian pictures of Pentecost, and 
the waving fires abide upon the heads of Angelico's 

There are almost endless points of interest, great and 
small, to be noted in these differences of treatment. This 
binding of the hair by the single fillet marks the straight 
course of one great system of art method, from that 
Greek head which I showed you on the archaic coin of 
the seventh Century before Christ, to this of the fifteenth 
of our own era — nay, when you look close, you will see 
the entire action of the head depends on one lock of hair 
falling back from the ear, which it does in compliance 
with the old Greek observance of its being bent there by 
the pressure of the helmet. That rippling of it down her' 
shoulders comes from the Athena of Corinth ; the raising 
of it on her forehead, from the knot of the hair of Diana, 
changed into the vestal fire of the angels. But chiefly, 
the calmness of the features in the one face, and their 
anxiety in the other, indicate first, indeed, the charac- 
teristic difference in every conception of *the schools, the 
Greek never representing expression, the Italian primarily 
seeking it; but far more, mark for us here the utter 
change in the conception of love ; from the tranquil 
guide and queen of a happy terrestrial domestic life, ac- 
cepting its immediate pleasures and natural duties, to the 
agonizing hope of an infinite good, and the ever mingled 
joy and terror of a love divine in jealousy, crying, "Set 
me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm ; 
for love is strong as death, jealousy is cruel as the grave." 
2. The vast issues dependent on this change in the concep- 
tion of the ruling passion of the human soul, I will en- 
deavour to show you on a future occasion : in my present 



lecture, I shall limit myself to the definition of the temper 
of Greek sculpture, and of its distinctions from Floren- 
tine in the treatment of any subject whatever, be it love 
or hatred, hope or despair. 

These great differences are mainly the following. 

3. A Greek never expresses momentary passion ; a 
Florentine looks to momentary passion as the ultimate 
object of his skill. 

When you are next in London, look carefully in the 
British Museum at the casts from the statues in the pedi- 
ment of the Temple of Minerva at JEgina. You have 
there Greek work of definite date ;— about 600 B.C., cer- 
tainly before 580 — of the purest kind ; and you have the 
representation of a noble ideal subject, the combats of 
the .zEacidse at Troy, with Athena herself looking on. 
But there is no attempt whatever to represent expression 
in the features, none to give complexity of action or ges- 
ture ; there is no struggling, no anxiety, no visible tem- 
porary exertion of muscles. There are fallen figures, one 
pulling a lance out of his wound, and others in attitudes 
of attack and defence ; several kneeling to draw their 
bows. But all inflict and suffer, conquer or expire, with 
the same smile. 

Secondly. The Greek, as such, never expresses personal 
character, while a Florentine holds it to be the ultimate 
condition of beauty. You are startled, I suppose, at my 
saying this, having had it often pointed out to you as a 
transcendent piece of subtlety in Greek art, that you could 
distinguish Hercules from Apollo by his being stout, and 
Diana from Juno by her being slender. That is very 
true ; but those are general distinctions of class, not spe- 
cial distinctions of personal character. Even as general, 
they are bodily, not mental. They are the distinctions, in 
fleshly aspect, between an athlete and a musician — between 
a matron and a huntress; but in nowise distinguish the 



simple-hearted hero from the subtle Master of the Muses, 
nor the wilful and fitful girl-goddess from the cruel and 
resolute matron-goddess. 

There is no personal character in true Greek art : — 
abstract ideas of youth and age, strength and swiftness, 
virtue and vice, — yes : but there is no individuality ; and 
the negative holds down to the revived conventionalism 
of the Greek school by Leonardo, when he tells you how 
you are to paint young women, and how old ones ; though 
a Greek would hardly have been so discourteous to age 
as the Italian is in his canon of it, — " old women should 
be represented as passionate and hasty, after the manner 
of Infernal Furies." 

" But at least, if the Greeks do not give character, they 
give ideal beauty ? " So it is said, without contradiction. 
But will you look again at the series of coins of the best 
time of Greek art, which I have just set before you \ 
Are any of these goddesses or nymphs very beautiful % 
Certainly the Junos are not. Certainly the Demeters are 
not. The Siren and Arethusa have well-formed and regu- 
lar features ; but I am quite sure that if you look at them 
without prejudice you will think neither reach even the 
average standard of pretty English girls. The Yenus 
Urania suggests at first the idea of a very charming per- 
son, but you will find there is no real depth nor sweetness 
in the contours, looked at closely. And remember, these 
are chosen examples ; the best I can find of art current in 
Greece at the great time ; and if even I were to take the 
celebrated statues, of which only two or three are extant, 
not one of them excels the Yenus of Melos ; and she, as I 
have already asserted, in The Queen of the Air, p. 169, 
has nothing notable in feature except dignity and simpli- 
city. You need only look at two or three vases of the best 
time to assure yourselves that beauty of feature was, in 
popular art, not only unattained but unattemtpted ; and 



finally, — and this yon may accept as a conclusive proof of 
Greek insensitiveness to the most subtle beauty — there is 
little evidence even in their literature, and none in their 
art, of their having ever perceived any beanty in infancy, 
or early childhood. 

And as the Greek strove only to teach what was true, so, 
in his sculptured symbol, he strove only to carve what was 
— Right. He rules over the arts to this day, and will for- 
ever, because he sought not first for beauty, not first for 
passion, or for invention, but for tightness / striving to 
display, neither himself nor his art, but the thing that he 
dealt with, in its simplicity. That is his specific character 
as a Greek. Of course, every nation's character is con- 
nected with that of others surrounding or preceding it ; 
and in the best Greek work you will find some things that 
are still false or fanciful ; but whatever in it is false or 
fanciful is not the Greek part of it — it is the Phoenician, 
or Egyptian, or Pelasgian }3art. The essential Hellenic 
stamp is veracity : — Eastern nations drew their heroes 
with eight legs, but the Greeks drew them with two ; — 
Egyptians drew their deities with cats' heads, but the 
Greeks drew them with men's ; and out of all fallacy, dis- 
proportion and indefiniteness, they were, day by day, 
resolvedly withdrawing and exalting themselves into 
restricted and demonstrable truth. 

4. And now, having cut away the misconceptions which 
encumbered our thoughts, I shall be able to put the Greek 
school into some clearness of its position for you, with 
respect to the art of the world. That relation is strangely 
duplicate; for on one side Greek art is the root of all 
simplicity y and on the other, of all complexity. 

a. On one side, 1 say, it is the root of all simplicity. If 
you were for some prolonged period to study Greek sculp- 
ture exclusively in the Elgin Room of the British Museum, 
and were then suddenly transported to the Hotel de Cluny, 



or any other museum of Gothic and barbarian workman 
ship, you would imagine the Greeks were the masters of 
all that was grand, simple, wise, and tenderly human, 
opposed to the pettiness of the toys of the rest of mankind. 

On one side of their work they are so. From all vain 
and mean decoration — all weak and monstrous error, the 
Greeks rescue the forms of man and beast, and sculpture 
them in the nakedness of their true flesh, and with the fire 
of their living soul. Distinctively from other races, as I 
have now, perhaps to your weariness, told you, this is the 
work of the Greek, to give health to what was diseased, 
and chastisement to what was untrue. So far as this is 
found in any other school hereafter, it belongs to them by 
inheritance from the Greeks, or invests them with the 
brotherhood of the Greek. And this is the deep meaning 
of the myth of Daedalus as the giver of motion to statues. 
The literal change from the binding together of the feet 
to their separation, and the other modifications of action 
which took place, either in progressive skill, or often, 
as the mere consequence of the transition from wood to 
stone (a figure carved out of one wooden log must have 
necessarily its feet near each other, and hands at its sides), 
these literal changes are as nothing, in the Greek fable, 
compared to the bestowing of apparent life. The figures 
of monstrous gods on Indian temples have their legs sepa- 
rate enough ; but they are infinitely more dead than the 
rude figures at Branchidae sitting with their hands on their 
knees. And, briefly, the work of Daedalus is the giving of 
deceptive life, as that of Prometheus the giving of real life. 
In this aspect of it, then, I say, it is the simplest and 
nakedest of lovely veracities. But it has another aspect, 
or rather another pole, for the opposition is diametric. 

h. As the simplest, so also it is the most complex of 
human art. I told you in my fifth Lecture, showing you 
the spotty picture of Yelasquez, that an essential Greek 



character is a liking for things that are daqypled. And 
you cannot but have noticed how often and how preva- 
lently the idea which gave its name to the Porch of 
Polygnotus, " arod TroucCkr) " — the Painted Porch — occurs 
to the Greeks as connected with the finest art. Thus, 
when the luxurious city is opposed to the simple and 
healthful one, in the second book of Plato's Polity, you 
find that, next to perfumes, pretty ladies and dice, you 
must have in it " iroiKikia^ which, observe, both in that 
place and again in the third book, is the separate art 
of joiners' work, or inlaying; but the idea of exquisitely 
divided variegation or division, both in sight and sound — ■ 
the " ravishing division to the lute," as in Pindar's " iroacCkoi 
vfjivoi " — runs through the compass of all Greek art-descrip- 
tion ; and if, instead of studying that art among marines, 
yon were to look at it only on vases of a fine time, your im- 
pression of it would be, instead of breadth and simplicity, 
one of universal spottiness and cheqneredness, " ev dyyeccv 
'Epfcecnv iraynroiKikoi^ ;" and of the artist's delighting in 
nothing so much as in crossed or starred or spotted things ; 
which, in right places, he and his public both do unlimit- 
edly. Indeed, they hold it complimentary even to a trout 
to call him a " spotty." Do you recollect the trout in the 
tributaries of the Ladon, which Pausanias says were spot- 
ted, so that they were like thrushes, and which, the Arca- 
dians told him, could speak ? In this last iroitciXia, how- 
ever, they disappointed him. " I, indeed, saw some of 
them caught," he says, " but I did not hear any of them 
speak, though I waited beside the river till sunset." 
5. The Greeks have been thus the origin not only of all 
broad, mighty, and calm conception, but of all that is 
divided, delicate, and tremulous ; " variable as the shade, by 
the light quivering aspen made." To them, as first leaders 
of ornamental design, belongs, of right, the praise of 



giistenings in gold, piercings in ivory, stainings in purple, 
burnishings in dark blue steel ; of the fantasy of the 
Arabian roof — quartering of the Christian shield, — rubric 
and arabesque of Christian scripture ; in fine, all enlarge- 
ment, and all diminution of adorning thought, from the 
temple to the toy, and from the mountainous pillars of 
Agrigentum to the last fineness of fretwork in the Pisan 
Chapel of the Thorn. 

Kot that a Greek never made mistakes. He made as 
many as we do ourselves, nearly ; — he died of his mistakes 
at last — as we shall die of them ; but so far he was sep- 
arated from the herd of more mistaken and more wretched 
nations— so far as he was Greek — it was by his rightness. 
He lived, and worked, and was satisfied with the fatness 
of his land, and the fame of his deeds, by his justice, and 
reason, and modesty. He became Grceculus esuriens, 
little, and hungry, and every man's errand-boy, by his ini- 
quity, and his competition, and his love of tajk. But his 
Grsecism was. in having done, at least at one period of his 
dominion, more than anybody else, what was modest, use- 
ful, and eternally true ; and, as a workman, he verily did, 
or first suggested the doing of, everything possible to man. 

A. P., Sixth Lecture. 





All European architecture, bad and good, old and new, 
is derived from Greece, through Rome, and coloured and 
perfected from the East. The history of architecture is 
nothing but the tracing of the various modes and direc- 
tions of this derivation. Understand this once for all : if 
you hold fast this great connecting clue, you may string all 
the types of the successive architectural inventions upon it 
like so many beads. The Doric and the Corinthian 'orders 
are the roots, the one of all the Romanesque, massy-capital- 
ed buildings — Norman, Lombard, Bizantine, and what else 
you can name of the kind ; and the Corinthian of all Goth- 
ic, Early English, French, German, and Tuscan. Now 
observe : these old Greeks gave the shaft ; Rome gave the 
arch ; the Arabs pointed and foliated the arch. The shaft 
and the arch, the framework and strength of architecture, 
are from the race of Japheth ; the spirituality and sanctity 
of it from Ismael, Abraham, and Shem. 

There is high probability that the Greek received his 
shaft system from Egypt ;* but I do not care to keep this 
earlier derivation in the mind of the reader. It is only 
necessary that he should be able to refer to a fixed point 
of origin, when the form of the shaft was first perfected. 
But it may be incidentally observed, that if the Greeks 
did indeed receive their Doric from Egypt, then the 
three families of the East have each contributed their 

* See Plate 1, page 413*. 


part to its noblest architecture : and Ham, the servant of 
the others, furnishes the sustaining or bearing member, the 
shaft ; Japheth the arch ; Shem the spiritualisation of 

I have said that the two orders, Doric and Corinthian, 
are the roots of all European architecture. You have, per- 
haps, heard of five orders ; but there are only two real 
orders ; aud there never can be any more till doomsday. 
On one of these orders the ornament is convex : those are 
the Doric, Norman, and whatever else you can recollect of 
the kind. On the other, the ornament is concave ; those are 
Corinthian, Early English, Decorated, and what else you 
recollect of that kind. The transitional form, in which 
the ornamental line is straight, is the centre or root of 
both. All other orders are varieties of those, or phan- 
tasms and grotesques altogether indefinite in number and 

This Greek architecture, then, with its two orders, was 
clumsily copied and varied by the Romans with no par- 
ticular result, until they begun to bring the arch into ex- 
tensive practical service ; except only that the Doric capital 
was spoiled in endeavours to mend it, and the Corinthian 
much varied and enriched with fanciful, and often very 
beautiful imagery. And in this state of things came 
Christianity : seized upon the arch as her own ; decorated, 
and delighted in it ; invented a new Doric capital to 
replace the spoiled Roman one ; and all over the Roman 
empire set to work, with such materials as were nearest at 
hand, to express and adorn herself as best she could. This 
Roman Christian architecture is the exact expression of 
the time, very fervid and beautiful, — but very imperfect ; 
in many respects ignorant, and yet radiant with a strong, 
child-like light of the imagination, which flames up under 
Constantine, illumes all the shores of the Bosphorus 
and the Egean and the Adriatic sea, and then gradually, 



as the people give themselves up to idolatry, becomes 
corpse-like. The architecture sinks into a settled form — a 
strange, gilded, and embalmed repose: it, with the religion 
it expressed ; and so would have remained forever — does 
remain, where its languor has been undisturbed. But 
rough wakening was ordained for it. 

This Christian art of the declining empire is divided 
into two great branches, Western and Eastern ; one cen- 
tred at Home, the other at Bizantium, of which the one is 
the early Christian Romanesque, properly so called, and 
the other, carried, to higher imaginative perfection by 
Greek workmen, is distinguished from it as the Bizantine. 
But I wish the reader, for the present, to class these two 
branches of art together in his mind, they being, in points 
of main importance, the same ; that is to say, both of 
them a true continuance and sequence of the art of old 
Rome itself, flowing uninterruptedly down from the 
fountain-head, and entrusted always to the best workmen 
who could be found — Latins in Italy and Greeks in 
Greece ; and thus both branches may be ranged under 
the general term of Christian Romanesque, an architec- 
ture which had lost the refinement of Pagan art in the 
degradation of the empire, but which was elevated by 
Christianity to higher aims, and by the fancy of the 
Greek workmen endowed with brighter forms. 

1 S. V., 14, § xvii.-xxi. 




All written or writable law respecting the arts is for the 
childish and ignorant : in the beginning of teaching, it is 
possible to say that this or that must or must not be done ; 
and laws of colour and shade may be taught, as laws of 
harmony are to the young scholar in music. But the 
moment a man begins to be anything deserving the name 
of an artist, all this teachable law has become a matter of 
course with him; and, if, thenceforth, he boast himself 
anywise in the law, or pretends that he lives and works by 
it, it is a sure sign that he is merely tithing cummin, and 
that there is no true art or religion in him. For the true 
artist has that inspiration in him which is above all law, 
or rather, which is continually working out such magnifi- 
cent and perfect obedience to supreme law, as can in no- 
wise be rendered by line and rule. There are more laws 
perceived and fulfilled in the single stroke of a great 
w r orkman, than could be written in a volume. His science 
is inexpressibly subtle, directly taught him by his Maker, 
not in anywise communicable or imitable. Neither can 
any written or definitely observable laws enable us to do 
anything great. It is possible, by measuring and adminis- 
tering quantities of colour, to paint a room wall so that it 
shall not hurt the eye; but there are no laws by observing 
which we can become Titians. It is possible so to measure 
and administer syllables, as to construct harmonious verse ; 
but there are no laws by which we can write Iliads. Out 
of the poem or the picture, once produced, men may elicit 
laws by the volume, and study them with advantage to 



the better understanding of the existing poem or picture ; 
but no more write or paint another, than by discovering 
the laws of vegetation they can make a tree to grow. And 
therefore, wheresoever we find the system or formality of 
rules much dwelt upon, and spoken of as anything else 
than a help for children, there we may be sure that noble 
art is not even understood, far less reached. 

And thus it was with all the common and public mind 
in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The greater men, 
indeed, broke through the thorn hedges; and, though much 
time was lost by the learned among them in writing Latin 
verses and anagrams, and arranging the framework of 
quaint sonnets and dexterous syllogisms, still they tore 
their way through the sapless thicket by force of intellect 
or of piety ; for it was not possible that, either hi literature 
or in painting, rules could be received by any strong mind, 
so as materially to interfere with its originality; so that in 
spite of the rules of the drama we had Shakespeare, and 
in spite of the rules of art we had Tintoret — both of them, 
to this day, doing perpetual violence to the vulgar scholar- 
ship and dim-eyed proprieties of the multitude. (3 S. Y., 
1067.) And yet, I am very sure that no reader who has 
given attention to what I have written in the former 
volumes of the " Stones of Venice," more especially to the 
tendency of the last chapter of the " Seven Lamps," will 
suppose me to underrate the importance or dispute the 
authority of law. But art law must be written on the 
heart, otherwise its only use can be to guide the simple or 
restrain the lawless and vicious. 3 S. v., 105, § lxxxvii. 



Though in poetry and painting, as wo have seen, original 
minds were a law unto themselves, in architecture it was 
not so ; for that was the art of the multitude, and was 
affected by all their errors ; and the great men who entered 
its field, like Michael Angelo, found expression for all the 
best part of their minds in sculpture, and made the archi- 
tecture merely its shell. So the simpletons and sophists had 
their way with it : and the reader can have no conception 
of the inanities and puerilities of the writers, who, with 
the help of Yitruvius, re-established its " five orders," de- 
termined the proportions of each, and gave the various 
receipts for sublimity and beauty which have thence- 
forward been followed to this day. 3 S. V., 108. 

Now there are three good architectures in the world, 
and there never can be more, correspondent to these three 
simple ways of covering in a space, which is the original 
function of all architectures. And those three architect- 
ures are pure exactly in proportion to the simplicity and 
directness with which they express the condition of roof- 
ing on which they are founded. They have many inter- 
esting varieties, according to their scale, manner of deco- 
ration, and character of the nations by whom they are 
practised ; but all their varieties are finally referable to 
the three great heads — ■ 

Fig. 1. 

. ox rue J^vriieu. 
[ I /V^Sj //\\ -Romanesque. 

n n n n ff n tectum of the 


A. Greeh. Architecture 
of the Lintel. 

tecture of the Round Arch. 

C. Gothic. Architecture 
of the Gable. 



All the architects in the world will never discover any 
other way of bridging a space than these three, the lintel, 
the round arch, the gable ; they may vary the curve of the 
arch, or curve the sides of the gable or break them down ; 
but in doing this they are merely modifying or subdivid- 
ing, not adding to the generic form. 

The three name's, Greek, Romanesque, and Gothic, are 
indeed inaccurate when used in this vast sense, because 
they imply national limitations ; but the three architect- 
ures may nevertheless not unfitly receive their names from 
those nations by whom they were carried to the highest per- 
fections. We may thus briefly state their existing varieties. 

A. Greeh : Lintel Architecture. — Its simplest style is 
Stonehenge ; its most refined, the Parthenon ; its noblest, 
the Temple of Karnak. 

In the hands of the Egyptian, it is sublime ; in those of 
the Greek, pure ; in those of the Roman, rich ; and in those 
of the Renaissance Builders, effeminate. 2 S. V., 236, 7. 

JV. B. — As Mr. Ruskin nowhere formally presents these 
" orders," the Editor deems it well to mention, briefly, the 
characteristics claimed for them by Yitruvius. 
There are three primary Greek orders, viz. : 

The Doric, 

The Ionic, 

The Corinthian. 
Two more were added by the Romans, viz. : 

The Tuscan, a modification of the Doric, and 

The Composite, a modification of the Corinthian. 
An order consists of 

"1. A Base, 

% A Column, 

3. An Entablature. 
The separate parts of which are given in the annexed 
Plate 1. 




1. The Doric was the oldest and simplest of the Greek 
orders. The shafts of the columns are fluted by twenty 
flutes, not quite a semicircle in depth, and separated by 
sharp edges, called arrises, and not by a flat fillet. It had 
no base, as used by the Greeks. 

The height of a Doric column is usually from seven to 
eight times its diameter at its bottom. The frieze always 
has the triglyph. Plate 2. 

2. The Ionic is lighter than the Doric, with shafts 
usually though not always fluted, with a fillet between the 
flu tii] gs. . 

The total height of the column ought not to exceed nine 
times its diameter at its base, if it has one. The base was 
added by the Romans. 

The Ionic capital is distinguished by its spiral line, in 
imitation, Yitruvius says (see 1 S. V., Appendix), of a 
woman's hair curled. Plate 3. 

3. The Corinthian, the lightest and most elegant of the 
three orders, has a fluted column, nine or ten times as high 
as the diameter of its base. Its capital is its distinguish- 
ing feature. It is said that Callimachus, the architect, 
saw, at a grave, a basket of toys with a flat tile on top, 
around wmich grew acanthus leaves, which, reaching the 
tile, fell over in graceful curves. He at once made it the 
design of the Corinthian capital. 

The Corinthian capital is beautiful because it expands 
under the abacus just as nature would have expanded it, 
and because it looks as if the leaves had one root, though 
that root is unseen. Plate 4. 

4. The Composite, first used by the Romans, was a com- 
position of the Ionic scroll or volutes, with the acanthus 
leaves of the Corinthian. The height of its column is the 
same as that of the Corinthian. Plate 5. 






[-35 r 

_ .. _ _ 7 : : 



-2-8 - - 


4 4 

f| fw g g fg g K» H» fttf 

T — Y - ^ 




Plate 4. — Roman Corintihan Order. 



5. The Tuscan^ a variety of the Doric, was founded by 
the Romans for the basement of buildings, and is thus dis- 
tinguished for its massiveness and strength. Its column is 
seldom higher than from five-and-a-half to seven times its 
diameter at the bottom. Plate 6. 

In the Doric temple the influence of the triglyph and 
cornice is rather in their simplicity and severity than in 
any beauty. The fluting of the column, I doubt not, was 
the Greek symbol of the bark of the tree. The beauty in 
it is felt to be of a low order. All the beauty it had was 
dependant on the precision of its ovolo, a natural curve 
of the most frequent occurrence. 

B. Romanesque : Round-arch Architecture. — Xever 
thoroughly developed until Christian times. It falls into 
two great branches, Eastern and Western, or 

1. Bizantine, 

2. Lombardic, 

changing respectively in process of time, with certain helps 
from each other, into 

1. Arabian Gothic. 

2. Teutonic Gothic. 

Its most perfect Lombardic type is the Duomo of Pisa ; 
its most perfect Bizantine type (I believe) is St. Mark's at 
Venice. Its highest glory is, that it has no corruption. It 
perishes in giving birth to another architecture as noble as 
itself. 2 S. V., 237 ; see also S. L., 86. 

C. Gothic : Architecture of the Gable. 


This is the daughter of the Romanesque ; and, like the 
Romanesque, divided into two great branches, Eastern and 
Western, or 

1. Pure Gothic, 

2. Arabian Gothic, 



of which the latter is called Gothic only because it has 
many Gothic forms, pointed arches, vaults, etc., but its 
spirit remains Bizantine, more especially in the form of 
the roof-mash. Observe the distinction between 

1. The roof, seen from below. 

2. The roof-mask, seen from above. [By roof, Ruskiii 
means the first thing that bridges space, whether lintel or 
arch, round or pointed.] 

In the Greek, the Western Romanesque, and the 
Western Gothic, the roof-mask is the gable ; in the 
Eastern Romanesque and Eastern Gothic it is the dome. 
The three groups, in the hands of the Western builders, 
may be thus simply represented : 

rig. 2. a, Greek, a flat or hor- 

izontal roof, and a low 
gable or roof -mask; b, 
Western Romanesque, a 
round arch for a roof 
and a low gable for a 
g p roof- mask ; c, Western 

or true Gothic, a pointed 
arch for a roof proper and a sharp gable for a roof-mask. 
Eow, observe, first, that the relation of the roof -mask to 
the roof proper, in the Greek type, forms XhvX pediment, 
which gives its most striking character to the temple, and 
is the principal recipient of its sculptured decoration. 
See Doric Temple, Plate 2 (opposite). The relation of 
these lines, therefore, is just as important in the Greek as 
in the Gothic schools. 

Secondly, observe the steepness in the Romanesque and 
Gothic gables. This is not an unimportant distinction, 
nor an undecided one. The Romanesque gable does not 
pass gradually into the more elevated form; there is a 
great gulf between the two ; the whole effect of South- 
ern architecture being dependant on the use of the flat 





gable, and all Northern upon that of the acute. I need 
not dwell here upon the difference between the lines of 
an Italian village or the flat tops of most Italian towers, 
and the most peaked gables and spires of the North, at- 
taining their most fantastic development, I believe, in 
Belgium ; but it may be well to state the law of separa- 
tion, namely, that a Gothic gable must have all its angles 
aetcte, and the Romanesque one must have the upper one 
obtuse ; or, to give a simple practical rule, take any gable, 
a or b (Fig. XIII., 2 S. V., 
239), and strike a semicircle 
on its base ; if its top 
rises above, as at b, it is 
Gothic ; if it falls below it, 
a Romanesque one ; but the & 
best forms in each group 
are those whi ch are distinct- 
ly steep or distinctly low. 
In the figure, f is the aver- 
age of Romanesque slope, 
and g of Gothic. 

But although we do not find a transition from one 
school into the other in the slope of the gables, there is 

Fig. 4. 


a o g <p 

often a confusion between the two schools in the associa- 
tion of the gable with the arch below it. It has just been 




stated that the pure Romanesque condition is the ronnd 
arch under the low gable, as in a, next Fig. ; the pnre 
Gothic condition is the pointed arch under the high 
gable, as in b ; yet in the passage from one style to the 
other, we sometimes find the conditions reversed ; the 
pointed arch under a low gable, as d, or the round arch 
under a high gable, as at c. The form d occurs in the 
tombs of Verona, and c in the doors of Yenice. 

2 S. V., Fig. XII., p. 240; Diet. Arch., 34. 


First. Look if the roof rises in a steep gable, high 
above the walls. If it- does not do this, there is something 
wrong ; the building is not quite pure Gothic, or has been 

Secondly. Look if the principal windows and doors 
have pointed arches with gables over them. If not pointed 
arches, the building is not Gothic; if they have not any 
gables over them, it is either not pure, or not first-rate. 
If, however, it has the steep roof, the pointed arch, and 
the gable all united, it is nearly certain to be a Gothic 
building of a very fine time. 

Thirdly. Look if the arches are cusped or aperture 
foliated. If the building has met the first two conditions, 
it is sure to be foliated somewhere ; but, if not everywhere, 
the parts which are unf oliated are imperfect unless they are 
large bearing arches, or small and sharp arches in groups, 
forming a kind of foliation by their own multiplicity, and 
relieved by sculpture and rich mouldings. The upper 
windows, for instance, in the east end of Westminster 
Abbey are imperfect for want of foliation. If there be 
no foliation anywhere, the building is assuredly imperfect 

The term foil or feuille being universally applied to 



the separate lobes of leaves, the pleasure received 
from them being the same as that which we feel in the 
triple, quadruple, or other 
radiated leaves of vegeta- 
tion, joined with the per- 
ception of a severely ge- 
ometrical order and sym- 
metry. A few of the 
most common forms are 
represented, unconfused 
by exterior mouldings, in 
the annexed, Fig. 5. 

Foliation, therefore, is 
equally descriptive of the 
most perfect conditions 
both of the simple arch and 
the traceries by which, in 
later Gothic, it is filled ; 
and it is said to be geo- 
metrical as its figures can 
be formed by the compass. 

Fourthly. If the building meets all the first three con- 
ditions, look if its arches in general, whether of windows 
and doors, or of minor ornamentation, are carried on true 
shafts with bases and capitals. If they are, then the build- 
ing is assuredly of the finest Gothic style ; and this is all 
that is necessary to determine that question. 2 S. V., 251. 

I. Gothic Flexibility and Variety of Gothic Schools. 

The variety of the Gothic schools is the more healthy 
and beautiful, because in many cases it is entirely un- 
studied, and results, not from the mere love of change, but 
from practical necessity. For in one point of view Gothic 
is not only the best, but the only rational architecture, as 
being that which can fit itself most easily to all services, 





vulgar or noble. Undefined in its slope of roof, height of 
shaft, breadth of arch, or disposition of ground plan, it 
can shrink into a turret, expand into a hall, coil into a 
staircase, or spring into a spire, with undegraded grace 
and unexhausted energy ; and whenever it finds occasion 
for change in its form or purpose, it submits to it without 
the slightest sense of loss either to its unity or majesty, — • 
subtle and flexible like a fiery serpent, but ever attentive 
to the voice of the charmer. And it is one of the chief 
virtues of the Gothic builders, that they never suffered 
ideas of outside symmetries and consistencies to interfere 
in the real use and value of what they did. If they wanted 
a window, they opened one ; a room, they added one ; a 
buttress, they built one ; utterly regardless of any estab- 
lished conventionalities of external aj3pearance, knowing 
(as indeed it always happened) that such daring interrup- 
tions of the formal plan would rather give additional 
interest to its symmetry than in j ure it, so that, in the best 
times of Gothic, a useless window would rather have been 
opened in an unexpected place for the sake of surprise, 
than a useful one forbidden for the sake of symmetry. 
Every successive architect employed upon a great woik 
built the pieces he added in his own way, utterly regard- 
less of the style adopted by his predecessors ; and if two 
towers were raised in nominal correspondence at the sides 
of a cathedral front, one was nearly sure to be different 
from the other, and in each the style at the top to be 
different from the style at the bottom. 2 S. V., 192. 

II. Aspiration as a Law of Gothic Schools. 

1 need not remind you of the effect upon the northern 
mind which has always been produced by the heaven- 
pointing spire, nor of the theory which has been founded 
upon it of the general meaning of Gothic Architecture 
as expressive of religious aspiration. In a few minutes, 



you may ascertain the exact value of that theory, and the 
degree in which it is true. 

1. The first tower of which we hear as built upon the 
earth, was certainly built in a species of aspiration ; but 
I do not suppose that any one here will think it was a 
religious one. "Go to now. Let us build a tower whose 
top may reach unto heaven." From that clay to this, 
whenever men have become skilful architects at all, there 
has been a tendency in them to build high ; not in any 
religious feeling, but in mere exuberance of spirit and 
power — as they dance or sing — with a y certain mingling of 
vanity — like the feeling in which a child builds a tower of 
cards; and, in nobler instances, with also a strong sense 
of, and delight in the majesty, height, and strength of the 
building itself, such as we have in that of a lofty tree or 
a peaked mountain. Add to this instinct the frequent 
necessity of points of elevation for watch-towers, or of 
points of offence, as in towers built on the ramparts of 
cities, and, finally, the need of elevations for the trans- 
mission of sound, as in the Turkish minaret and Christian 
belfry, and you have, I think, a sufficient explanation of 
the tower-building of the world in general. Look through 
your Bibles only, and collect the various expressions with 
reference to tower-building there, and you will have a 
very complete idea of the spirit in which it is for the most 
part undertaken. You begin with that of Babel; then 
you remember Gideon beating down the Tower of Penuel, 
in order more completely to humble the pride of the men 
of the city; you remember the defence of the tower of 
Shechem against Abimelech, and the death of Abimelech 
by the casting of a stone from it by a woman's hand; you 
recollect the husbandman building a tower in his vineyard, 
and the beautiful expressions in Solomon's Song — " The 
Tower of Lebanon, which looketh towards Damascus;" 
" I am a wall, and my breasts like towers ; " — you 



recollect the Psalmist's expressions of love and delight, 
" Go ye round about Jerusalem ; tell the towers thereof : 
mark ye well her bulwarks ; consider her palaces, that ye 
may tell it to the generation following." You see in all 
these cases how completely the tower is a subject of 
human pride, or delight, or defence, not in anywise asso- 
ciated with religions sentiment ; the towers of Jerusalem 
being named in the same sentence, not with her temple, 
but with her bulwarks and palaces. And thus, when the 
tower is in reality connected with a place of worship, it 
was generally done to add to its magnificence, but not to 
add to its religious expression. And over the whole of 
the world, you have various species of elevated buildings, 
the Egyptian pyramid, the Indian and Chinese pagoda, 
the Turkish minaret, and the Christian belfry — all of 
them raised either to make a show from a distance, or to 
cry from, or swing bells in, or hang them round, or for 
some other very human reason. Thus, when the good 
people of Beauvais were building their cathedral, that of 
Amiens, then just completed, had excited the admiration 
of all France, and the people of Beauvais, in their jealousy 
and determination to beat the people of Amiens, set to 
work to build a tower to their own cathedral as high as 
they possibly could. They built it so high that it tumbled 
down, and they were never able to finish their cathedral 
at all — it stands a wreck to this day. But you will not, I 
should think, imagine this to have been done in heaven- 
ward aspiration. Mind, however, I don't blame the people 
of Beauvais, except for their bad building. I think their 
desire to beat the citizens of Amiens a most amiable 
weakness, and only wish I could see the citizens of Edin- 
burgh and Glasgow* inflamed with the same emulation, 

* I did not, at the time of the delivery of these lectures, know how 
many G-othic towers the worthy Glaswegians have lately built : that of 
St. Peter's, in particular, being a most meritorious effort. 

IheMsjor&KiaiiF EnjJfpL«.O.S6 Pa* Place, N.Y. 



building Gothic towers instead of manufactory chimneys ; 
only do not confound a feeling which, though healthy and 
right, may be nearly analogous to that in which you play 
a cricket-match, with any feeling allied to your hope of 

Such being the state of the case with respect to tower 
building in general, let me follow for a few minutes the 
changes which occur in the towers of northern and southern 

2. Many of us are familiar with the ordinary form of the 
Italian bell-tower or campanile (Plate 15). From the 
eighth century to the thirteenth there was little change 
in that form : * four-square, rising high and without taper- 
ing into the air, story above story, they stood like giants in 
the quiet fields beside the piles of the basilica or the Loni- 
bardic church, in this form {fig. 9.), tiled at the top in a 
flat gable, with open arches below, and fewer and fewer 
arches on each inferior story, down to the bottom. It is 
worth while noting the difference in form between these 
and the towers built for military service. The latter were 
built as in Jig. 10., projecting vigorously at the top over a 
series of brackets or machicolations, with very small win- 
dows, and no decoration below. Such towers as these were 
attached to every important palace in the cities of Italy, 
and stood in great circles — troops of towers — around their 
external walls : their ruins still frown along the crests of 
every promontory of the Apennines, and are seen from far 
away in the great Lombardic plain, from distances of half- 
a-day's journey, dark against the amber sky of the horizon. 
These are of course now built no more, the changed 
methods of modern warfare having cast them into entire 
disuse ; but the belfry or campanile has had a very different 

* There is a good abstract of the forms of the Italian campanile, by Mr. 
Papworth, in the Journal of the Archaeological Institute, March 1850. 



influence on European architecture. Its form in the plains 
of Italy and South France being that just shown you, the 
moment we enter the valleys of the Alps, where there is 
snow to be sustained, we find its form of roof altered by 
the substitution of a steep gable for a flat one."* There are 
probably few in the room who have not been in some 
parts of South Switzerland, and who do not remember the 
beautiful effect of the grey mountain churches, many of 
them hardly changed since the tenth and eleventh centuries, 
whose poiuted towers stand up through the green level of 
the vines, or crown the jutting rocks that border the valley. 

3. From this form to "the true spire, the change is slight, 
and consists in little more than various decoration, generally 
in putting small pinnacles at the angles, and piercing the 
central pyramid with traceried windows, sometimes, as at 
Fribourg and Burgos, throwing it into tracery altogether : 
but to do this is invariably the sign of a vicious style, as 
it takes away from the spire its character of a true roof, 
and turns it nearly into an ornamental excrescence. At 
Antwerp and Brussels, the celebrated towers (one, observe, 
ecclesiastical, being the tower of the cathedral, and the 
other secular), are formed by successions of diminishing 
towers, set one above the other, and each supported by 
buttresses thrown to the angles of the one beneath. At 
the English cathedrals of Lichfield and Salisbury, the spire 
is seen in great purity, only decorated by sculpture ; but I 
am aware of no example so striking in its entire simplicity 
as that of the towers of the cathedral of Contances in Nor- 
mandy. There is a dispute between French and English 
antiquaries as to the date of the building, the English being 
unwilling to admit its complete priority to all their own 
Gothic. I have no doubt of this priority myself; and 1 

* The form establishes itself afterwards in the plains, in sympathy 
with other Gothic conditions, as in the campanile of St. Mark's at Venice. 

IMijor&KnapD 56 Part Place.HY 



hope that the time will soon come when men will cease to 
confound vanity with patriotism, and will think the honour 
of their nation more advanced by their own sincerity and 
courtesy, than by claims, however learnedly contested, to 
the invention of pinnacles and arches. I believe the 
French nation was, in the 12th and 13th centuries, the 
greatest in the world ; and that the French not only in- 
vented Gothic architecture, but carried it to a perfection 
which no other nation has approached, then or since : but, 
however this may be, there can be no doubt that the towers 
of Coutances, if not the earliest, are among the very earli- 
est, examples of the fully developed spire. I have drawn 
one of them carefully for you (Plate 16, fig. 11.), and you 
will see immediately that they are literally domestic roofs, 
with garret windows, executed on a large scale, and in stone. 
Their only ornament is a kind of scaly mail, which is 
nothing more than the copying in stone of the common 
wooden shingles of the house-roof ; and their security is 
provided for by strong gabled dormer windows, of massy 
masonry, which, though supported on detached shafts, have 
weight enough completely to balance the lateral thrusts of 
the spires. 

Nothing can surpass the boldness or the simplicity of 
the plan ; and yet, in spite of this simplicity, the clear 
detaching of the shafts from the slope of the spire, and 
their great height, strengthened by rude cross-bars of 
stone, carried back to the wall behind, occasions so great 
a complexity and play of cast shadows, that I remember 
no architectural composition of which the aspect is so 
completely varied at different hours of the day.* But 
the main thing I wish you to observe is, the complete 
domesticity of the work; the evident treatment of 'the 
church spire merely as a magnified house-roof ; and the 

* The sketch was made about 10 o'clock on a September morning. 



proof herein of the great truth of which I have been en- 
deavouring to persuade you, that all good architecture 
rises out of good and simple domestic work ; and that, 
therefore, before you attempt to build great churches and 
palaces, you must build good house doors and garret win- 
dows. Nor is the spire the only ecclesiastical form dedu- 
cible from domestic architecture. The spires of France 
and Germany are associated with other towers, even sim- 
pler and more straightforward in confession of their na- 
ture, in which, though the walls of the tower are covered 
with sculpture, there is an ordinary ridged gable roof on 
the top. The finest example I know of this kind of tower, 
is that on the north-west angle of Rouen Cathedral {fig. 
12.); bat they occur in multitudes in the older towns of 
Germany ; and the backgrounds of Albert Durer are full 
of them, and owe to them a great part of their interest ; 
all these great and magnificent masses of architecture 
being repeated on a smaller scale by the little turret roofs 
and pinnacles of every house in the town; and the whole 
system of them being expressive, not by any means of 
religious feeling,* but merely of joyfulness and exhilara- 

* Among the various modes in which the architects, against whose 
practice my writings are directed, have endeavoured to oppose them, 
no charge has been made more frequently than that of their self-con- 
tradiction ; the fact being, that there are few people in the world who 
are capable of seeing the two sides of any subject, or of conceiving how 
the statements of its opposite aspects can possibly be reconcileable. 
For instance, in a recent review, though for the most part both fair 
and intelligent, it is remarked, on this very subject of the domestic 
origin of the northern Gothic, that ' ' Mr. Ruskin is evidently possessed 
by a fixed idea, that the Venetian architects were devout men, and that 
their devotion was expressed in their buildings ; while he will not allow 
our own cathedrals to have been built by any but worldly men, who 
had no thoughts of heaven, but only vague ideas of keeping out of hell, 
by erecting costly places of worship." If this writer had compared the 
two passages with the care which such a subject necessarily demands, 
he would have found that I was not opposing Venetian to English 



tion of spirit in the inhabitants of such cities, leading 
them to throw their roofs high into the sky, and therefore 
giving to the style of architecture with which these gro- 
tesque roofs are associated, a certain charm like that of 
cheerfulness in the human face ; besides a power of in- 
teresting the beholder which is testified, not only by the 
artist in his constant search after such forms as the ele- 
ments of his landscape, but by every phrase of our lan- 
guage and literature bearing on such topics. Have not 
these words, Pinnacle, Turret, Belfry, Spire, Tower, a 
pleasant sound in all your ears ? 

The Plates that follow will illustrate the various forms 
that Gothic ideas have taken, in doors and the tracery of 
windows, from time to time. 

piety ; but that in the one case I was speaking of the spirit manifested 
in the entire architecture of the nation, and in the other of occasional 
efforts of superstition as distinguished from that spirit ; and, farther, 
that in the one case I was speaking of decorative features, which are 
ordinarily the results of feeling, in the other of structural features, 
which are ordinarily the results of necessity or convenience. Thus it 
is rational and just that we should attribute the decoration of the 
arches of St. Mark's with scriptural mosaics to a religious sentiment ; 
but it would be a strange absurdity to regard as an effort of piety the 
invention of the form of the arch itself, of which one of the earliest 
and most perfect instances is in the Cloaca Maxima. And thus in the 
case of spires and towers, it is just to ascribe to the devotion of their 
designers that dignity which was bestowed upon forms derived from 
the simplest domestic buildings ; but it is ridiculous to attribute any 
great refinement of religious feeling, or height of religious aspiration, 
to those who furnished the funds for the erection of the loveliest tower 
in North France, by paying for permission to eat butter in Lent. (Lec- 
ture I. on Architecture and Painting. Further about towers or campa- 
nile, see Plate 423, 




I. Law .of Principality. — The first thing to be done in 
beginning a composition is to determine which is to be the 
principal thing. I believe that all that has been written 
and taught about proportion, put together, is not to the 
architect worth the single rule, well enforced, " Have one 
large thing and several smaller things, one principal thing 
and several" inferior things, and bind them all together." 
Sometimes there may be a regular gradation, as be- 
tween the heights of stories in good designs for houses ; 
sometimes a monarch with a lowly train, as in the spire 
and its pinnacles ; the various arrangements are infinite, 
but the law is universal — have one thing above the rest, 
either by size, office, or interest. Don't put the pin- 
nacles without the spire. What a host of ugly church 
towers we have in England, with pinnacles at the corners 
and none in the middle! How many like King's College 
Chapel, Cambridge, looking like tables upside down, 
with their four legs in the air ! What ! it will be said, 
have not beasts four legs? Yes, but legs of different 
shapes, and with a head between them. So they have a 
pair of ears, and perhaps a pair of horns ; but not at both 
ends. Knock down a couple of pinnacles at either end 
in King's College Chapel, and you will have a kind of 
proportion instantly. In a cathedral you may have one 
tower in the centre and two at the west end, or two at the 
west end only, though a worse arrangement, but you 
must not have two at the west end and two at the east 
end unless you have some central member to connect 
them ; and even then, buildings are generally bad which 
have large balancing features at the extremities, and small 
connecting ones in the centre, because it is not easy to 
make the centre dominant. The bird or moth may indeed 



have wide wings, because the size of the wings does not 
give supremacy to the wing. The head and life are the 
mighty things, and the plumes, however wide, are sub- 
ordinate. In fine west fronts with a pediment and two 
towers, the centre is always the principal mass, both in 
bulk and interest (as having the main gateway), and the 
towers are subordinate to it, as an animal's horns are to 
its head. The moment the towers rise so InVh as to over- 
power the body and centre, and become themselves the 
principal masses, they will destroy the proportion unless 
they are made unequal and one of them the leading fea- 
ture of the cathedral, as at Antwerp and Strasburg. The 
purer method is to keep them down in due relation to the 
centre, and throw np the pediment into a steep connecting 
mass, drawing the eye to it by rich tracery. 

This rule of supremacy applies to the smallest as well 
as to the leading features; it is interestingly seen in the ar- 
rangement of all good mouldings ; for further discussion of 
which see " Seven Lamps of Architecture," ch. iv., § xxvii. 

II. Law of Proportion. — a. Without this principality 
above stated there can be no proportion. Wherever pro- 
portion exists at all, one member of the composition must 
be either larger than, or in some way supreme over, the 
rest. There is no proportion between equal things. They 
can have symmetry only, and symmetry without propor- 
tion is not composition. It is necessary to perfect beauty, 
but it is the least necessary of its elements, nor, of course, 
is there any difficulty in obtaining it. Any succession of 
equal things is agreeable : but to compose is to arrange 
unequal things, with some one thing as principal. 

b. It must be remembered that proportion is between 
three terms at least. Hence as the pinnacles are not 
enough without the spire, so neither the spire without the 
pinnacles. All men feel this, and usually express their 
feeling by saying that the pinnacles conceal the junctior 



of -the spire and tower. This is one reason ; but a more 
influential one is, that the pinnacles furnish the third term 
to the spire aud tower. So that it is not enough, in order to 
secure proportion, to divide a building unequally ; it must 
be divided into at least three parts ; it may be into more 
(and in details with advantage) ; but on a large scale I find 
three is about the best number of parts in elevation, and 
five in horizontal extent, with freedom of increase to five 
in one case and seven in the other. S. L., 106. 

c. Notice the connection of symmetry with horizontal, 
and proportion with vertical, division. Evidently there 
is in symmetry a sense not merely of equality, but of bal- 
ance. Now a thing cannot be balanced by another on the 
top of it, though it may by one at the side of it. Hence, 
while it is not only allowable, but often necessary, to 
divide buildings, or parts of them, horizontally into halves, 
thirds or other equal parts, all vertical divisions of this 
kind are utterly wrong ; worst into half, next worst in the 
regular members which betray the equality. In all fine 
spires there are two bands and three parts, as at Salisbury. 
The ornamented portion of the tower is there cut in half, 
and allowably, because the spire forms the third mass, to 
which the other two are subordinate ; two stories are also 
equal in Giotto's Campanile, but dominant over smaller' 
divisions below and subordinated to the noble third 
above. Even this arrangement is difficult to treat ; and 
it is usually safer to increase or diminish the height of 
the divisions regularly as they rise, as in the Doge's 
Palace, whose three divisions are in a bold geometrical 
progression ; or, in towers, to get an alternate proportion 
between the body, the belfry, and the crown, as in the 
campanile of St. Mark's. But at all events to get rid 
of equality ; leave that to children and their card houses ; 



the laws of nature and the reason of man are alike against 
it, in arts as in politics. There is but one thoroughly ugly 
tower in Italy that I know of, and that because it is divi- 
ded into vertical equal parts, the tower of Pisa. 

S. L.,106. 

[Further on this principle, see Ruskin's Lectures on Ar- 
chitecture, 22.] 

III. Law of Masses, or Breadth. — The relative majesty 
of buildings depends more on the weight and vigour of 
their masses than on any other attribute of their design : 
mass of everything, of bulk, of light, of darkness, of col- 
oar, not mere sum of any of these, but breadth of them ; 
not broken light, nor scattered darkness, nor divided 
weight, but solid stone, broad sunshine, and starless shade. 

S. L., 82. 

As the great poem and the great fiction generally affect^ 
us most by the majesty of their masses of shade, and can- 
not take hold of us if they affect a continuance of lyric 
sprightliness, but must be serious often, and sometimes 
melancholy, else they do not express the truth of this wild 
world of ours, so there must be in this magnificent human 
art of architecture, some equivalent expression for the 
trouble and wrath of life, for its sorrow and its mystery ; 
and this it can only give by depth or diffusion of gloom, 
by the frown on its front, and the shadows of its recess. 
So that Rembrandt ism is a noble manner in architecture, 
though a false one in painting: and I do not believe that 
ever any building was truly great, unless it had mighty 
masses, vigorous and deep, of shadow mingled with its sur- 
face. And among the first habits that a young architect 
should Learn is that of thinking in shadow, not looking at 
a design in its miserable liny skeleton ; but conceiving it 
as it will be when the dawn lights on it, and the dusk 
leaves it; when its stones will be hot, and its crannies 



cool ; when the lizards will bask on the one, and the birds 
build in the other. Let hiin design with the sense of cold 
and heat upon him ; let him cut out the shadows, as men 
dig wells in unwatered plains ; and lead along the lights, as 
a founder does his hot metal ; let him keep the full com- 
mand of both, and see that he knows how they fall and 
where they fade. All that he has to do must be done by 
spaces of light and darkness ; and his business is to see 
that the one is broad and bold enough not to be swallowed 
up by twilight, and the other deep enough not to be dried 
like a shallow pool by a noon-day sun. 

And that this may be, the first necessity is that the quan- 
tities of light or shade, whatever they may be, shall be 
thrown into masses, either of something like equal weight, 
or else large masses of the one relieved with small of the 
ether ; but masses of one or other kind there must be. 'No 
design that is divided at all, and is not divided into masses, 
can ever be of the smallest value: this great law re- 
specting breadth is precisely the same in architecture and 
painting. S. L., Chap. III., § 13. 

Painters are in the habit of speaking loosely of masses 
of light and shade, meaning thereby any large spaces of 
either. Nevertheless, it is convenient to restrict the term 
" mass " to the portions to which form proper belongs, 
and to call the field on which such forms are traced, in- 
terval. Thus, in foliage with projecting boughs or 
stems, we have masses of light, with intervals of shade ; 
and, in light skies with dark clouds upon them, masses of 
shade, with intervals of light. 

This direction in architecture is still more necessary; 
for there are two marked styles dependent upon it ; one in 
which the forms are drawn with light upon darkness, as 
in Greek sculpture and pillars ; the other in which they 
are drawn with darkness upon light, as in early Gothic 



foliation. Now, it is not in the designer's power deter- 
in inately to vary degrees and places of darkness, but it is 
altogether in his power to vary in determined directions 
his decrees of light. Hence the use of the dark mass 
characterizes, generally, a trenchant style of design, in 
which the darks and lights are both flat, and terminated 
by sharp edges ; while the use of the light mass is in the 
same way associated with a softened and full manner of 
design, in which the darks are much warmed by reflected 
lights, and the lights are rounded and melt into them. 
The term applied by Milton to Doric bas-relief, " bossy," 
is, as is generally the case with Milton's epithets, the most 
comprehensive and expressive of this manner which the 
English language contains ; while the term which specifi- 
cally describes the chief member of the early Gothic 
decoration, feuille, foil, or leaf, is equally significative of 
a flat space or shade. s. L., 70-71. 

IY. The Laws of Harmonies. — There are two modes in 
which any mental or material effect may be increased — by 
contrast, or by assimilation. 


Supposing that we have a certain number of features, 
or existences, under a given influence ; then, by subject- 
ing another feature to the same influence, we increase the 
universality, and therefore the effect, of that influence ; 
but, by introducing another feature, not under the same 
influence, we render the subjection of the other features 
more palpable, and therefore more effective. For exam- 
ple, let the influence be one of shade (Fig. 6), to which 
a certain number of objects are subjected in a and b. To 
a we add another feature, subjected to the same influence, 



and we increase the general impression of shade ; to b we 
Fig. 6. add the same feature, not subjected to 

m this influence, and we have deepened 
I the effect of shade. Now, the princi- 
I pies by which we are to be guided in 
I the selection of one or other of these 
■ means are of great importance, and 
must be developed before we can con- 
clude the investigation of villa archi- 
tecture. The impression produced by 
a given effect or influence depends 
upon its degree and its duration. De- 
gree always means the proportionate 
energy exerted. Duration is either into 
time, or into space, or into both. The duration of colour 
is in space alone, forming what is commonly called extent. 
The duration of sound is in space and time ; the space 
being in the size of the waves of air, which give depth to 
the tone. The duration of mental emotion is in time alone. 
Now, in all influences, as is the degree, so is the impres- 
sion ; as is the duration, so is the effect of the impression ; 
that is, its permanent operation upon the feelings, or the 
violence with which it takes possession of our own facul- 
ties and senses, as opposed to the abstract impression of 
its existence without such operation on our own essence. 
For example, the natural tendency of darkness or shade 
is, to induce fear or melancholy. Now, as the degree of 
shade, so is the abstract impression of the existence of 
shade ; but, as the duration of shade, so is the fear of mel- 
ancholy excited by it. Consequently, when we w T ish to 
increase the abstract impression of the power of any influ- 
ence over objects with which we have no connexion, we 
must increase degree ; but, when we wish the impression 
to produce a permanent effect upon ourselves, we must 
increase duration. Now, degree is always increased by 



contrast, and duration by assimilation. A few instances 
of this will be sufficient. Blue is called a cold colour, be- 
cause it induces a feeling of coolness to the eye, and is 
much used by nature in her cold effects. Supposing that 
we have painted a storm scene, in desolate country, with 
a single miserable cottage somewhere in front ; that we 
have made the atmosphere and the distance cold and blue, 
and wish to heighten the comfortless impression. There 
is an old rag hanging out of the window: shall it be red 
or blue ? If it be red, the piece of warm colour will con - 
trast strongly with the atmosphere ; will render its blue- 
ness and chilliness immensely more apparent ; will increase 
the degree of both, and, therefore, the abstract impression 
of the existence of cold. But, if it be blue, it will bring 
the iciness of the distance up into the foreground ; will 
fill the whole visible space with comfortless cold ; will 
take away every relief from the desolation ; will increase 
the duration of the influence, and, consequently, will ex- 
tend its operation into the mind and feelings of the specta- 
tor, who will shiver as he looks. Now, if we are painting 
a picture, we shall not hesitate a moment : in goes the red ; 
for the artist, while he wishes to render the actual impres- 
sion of the presence of cold in the landscape as strong as 
possible, does not wish that chilliness to pass over into, or 
affect, the spectator, but endeavours to make the combina- 
tion of colour as delightful to his eye and feelings as pos- 
sible.* But, if we are painting a scene for theatrical rep- 
resentation, where deception is aimed at, we shall be as de- 
cided in our proceeding on the opposite principle: in goes 
the blue ; for wo wish the idea of cold to pass over into 
the spectator, and make him so uncomfortable as to per- 
mit his fancy to place him distinctly in the place we de- 

* This difference of principle is one leading distinction between the 
artist, properly so called, and the scene, diorama, or panorama painter. 



sire, in the actual scene. Again, Shakspeare has been 
blamed by some few critical asses for the raillery of Mer- 
cutio, and the humour of the nurse, in Romeo and Juliet ; 
for the fool in Lear ; for the porter in Macbeth ; the grave- 
diggers in Hamlet, &c. ; because, it is said, these bits in- 
terrupt the tragic feeling. ~Ho such thing ; they enhance 
it to an incalculable extent; they deepen its degree, 
though they diminish its duration. And what is the 
result ? that the impression of the agony of the individuals 
brought before us is far stronger than it could otherwise have 
been, and our sympathies are more forcibly awakened ; 
while, had the contrast been wanting, the impression of 
pain would have come over into ourselves ; our selfish feel- 
ing, instead of our sympathy, would have been awakened ; 
the conception of the grief of others diminished; and the 
tragedy would have made us very uncomfortable, but 
never have melted us to tears, or excited us to indignation. 
"When he, whose merry and satirical laugh rung in our 
ears the moment before, faints before us, with "A plague 
o' both your houses, they have made worms' meat of me," 
the acuteness of our feeling is excessive : but, had we not 
heard the laugh before, there would have been a dull 
weight of melancholy impression, which would have been 
painful, not affecting. Hence, we see the grand impor- 
tance of the choice of our means of enhancing effect ; and 
we derive the simple rule for that choice ; namely, that, 
when we wish to increase abstract impression, or to call 
upon the sympathy of the spectator, we are to use con- 
trast ; but, when we wish to extend the operation of the 
impression, or to awaken the selfish feelings, we are to use 

This rule, however, becomes complicated where the fea- 
ture of contrast is not altogether passive; that is, where we 
wish to give a conception of any qualities inherent in that 
feature, as well as in what it relieves ; and, besides, it is not 



always easy to know whether it will be best to increase the 
abstract idea, or its operation. In most cases, energy, the 
degree of inflnence, is beauty ; and, in many, the duration 
of inflnence is monotony. In others, duration is sublimity, 
and energy painful : in a few, energy and duration are 
attainable and delightful together. It is impossible to give 
rules for judgment in every case ; but the following points 
must always be observed: — 1. When we use contrast, it 
must be natural, and likely to occur. Thus, the contrast in 
tragedy is the natural consequence of the character of 
human existence : it is what w T e see and feel every day of 
our lives. When a contrast is unnatural, it destroys the 
effect it should enhance. Canning called on a French 
refugee in 1794. The conversation naturally turned on 
the execution of the queen, then a recent event. Overcome 
by his feelings, the Parisian threw himself upon the 
ground, exclaiming, in an agony of tears, "La bonne 
reine ! la pauvre reine ! " Presently he sprang up, ex- 
claiming, " Cependant, Monsieur, il faut vous faire voir 
mon petit chien danser." This contrast, though natural in 
a Parisian, was unnatural in the nature of things, and 
therefore injurious. 

2dly. When the general influence, instead of being exter- 
nal, is an attribute or energy of the thing itself, so as to 
bestow on it a permanent character, the contrast which is 
obtained by the absence of that character is injurious and 
becomes what is called an interruption of the unity. Thus, 
the raw and colorless tone of the Swiss cottage, noticed at 
page 36, is an injurious contrast to the richness of the 
landscape, which is an inherent and necessary energy in 
surrounding objects. So, the character of Italian landscape 
is curvilinear; therefore, the outline of the buildings 
entering into its composition must be arranged on curvi- 
linear principles, as investigated at page 130. p. a. 

3dly. But, if the pervading character can be obtained ill 



the single object by different means, the contrast will be 
delightful. Thus, the elevation of character which the 
hill districts of Italy possess by the magnificence of their 
forms, is transmitted to the villa by its dignity of detail, 
and simplicity of outline ; and the rectangular interruption 
to the curve of picturesque blue country, partaking of the 
nature of that which it interrupts, is a contrast giving 
relief and interest, while any Elizabethan acute angles, on 
the contrary, would have been a contrast obtained by the 
absence of the pervading energy of the universal curvi- 
linear character, and therefore improper. 

4thly. When the general energy, instead of pervading 
simultaneously the multitude of objects, as with one spirit, 
is independently possessed and manifested by every indi- 
vidual object, the result is repetition, not unity: and con- 
trast is not merely agreeable, but necessary. Thus, in 
Fig. 7, the number of objects, forming the line of beauty, 
is pervaded by one simple energy; but in Fig. 8 that 
energy is separately manifested in each, and the result is 
painful monotony. Parallel right lines, without grouping, 
are alw T ays liable to this objection; and, therefore, a dis- 
tant view of a flat country is never beautiful, unless its 
horizontals are lost in richness of vegetation, as in Lom- 
bardy ; or broken with masses of forest, or with distant 

Fig. 7.— Harmony of Contrast. 

hills. If none of these interruptions take place, there is 
immediate monotony, and no introduction can be more 



delightful than such a tower in the distance as Strasburg, 
or, indeed, than any architectural combination of verticals. 

Pig. 8. — Harmony of Analogy. 

Peterborough is a beautiful instance of such an adaptation. 
It is always, then, to be remembered that repetition is not 

5thly. When any attribute is necessarily beautiful, that 
is, beautiful in every place and circumstance, we need 
hardly say that the contrast consisting in its absence is 
painful. It is only when beauty is local or accidental that 
opposition may be employed. 

6thly. The edge of all contrasts, so to speak, should be as 
soft as is consistent with decisive effect. We mean, that a 
gradual change is better than instantaneous transfigura- 
tion ; for, though always less effective, it is more agreeable. 
But this must be left very much to the judgment. 

7 thly. We must be very careful in ascertaining whether 
any given contrast is obtained by freedom from external, or 
absence of internal, energy, for it is often a difficult point 
to decide. Thus, the peace of the Alpine valley might, 
at first, seem to be a contrast caused by the want of the 
character of strength and sublimity manifested in the 
hills ; but it is really caused by the freedom from the gen- 
eral and external influence of violence and desolation. 

These, then, are principles applicable to all arts; without 
a single exception, and of particular importance in paint- 
ing and architecture. It will sometimes be found that one 
rule comes in the way of another ; in which case, the most 



important is, of course, to be obeyed ; but, in general, they 
will afford us an easy means of arriving at certain results, 
when, before, our conjectures must have been vague and 
unsatisfactory. We may now proceed to determine the 
most proper form for the mountain villa of England. 


We must first observe the prevailing lines of the near 
hills : if they are vertical, there will most assuredly be 
monotony, for the vertical lines of crag are never grouped, 
and accordingly, by our fourth rule, the prevailing lines 
of our edifice must be horizontal. In Fig. 9, which is a 
village half-way up the Lake of Thun, the tendency of the 
hills is vertical ; this tendency is repeated by the build- 
ings, and the composition becomes thoroughly bad : but, 
at Fig. 27, P. A., we have the same vertical tendency in 
the hills, while the grand lines of the buildings are hori- 
zontal, and the composition is good. Eut, if the prevailing 
lines of the near hills be curved "(and they will be either 
curved or vertical), we must not interrupt their character, 
for the energy is then pervading, not individual ; and, 
therefore, our edifice must be rectangular. In both cases, 
therefore, the grand outline of the villa is the same ; but 
in the one we have it set off by contrast, in the other by 
assimilation ; and we must work out in the architecture of 
each edifice the principle on which we have begun. Com- 
mencing with that in which we are to work by contrast : 
the vertical crags must be the result of violence, and the 
influence of destruction, of distortion, of torture, to speak 
strongly, must be evident in their every line. We free the 
building' from this influence, and give it repose, graceful- 
ness, and ease ; and we have a contrast of feeling as well as 
of line, by which the desirable attributes are rendered 
evident in both objects, while the duration of neither 



energy being allowed, there can be no disagreeable effect 
upon the spectator, who will not shrink from the terror of 

the crass, nor feel a want of excitement in the gentleness 
of the building. 

2dly. Solitude is powerful and evident in its effect on 
the distant hills, therefore, the effect of the villa should be 
joyous and life-like (not flippant, however, but serene) ; 
and, by rendering it so, we shall enhance the sublimity of 
the distance, as we showed in speaking of the Westmore- 
land cottage ; and, therefore, we may introduce a number 
of windows with good effect, provided that they are kept 
in horizontal lines, and do not disturb the repose which we 
have shown to be necessary. 

These three points of contrast will be quite enough : 
there is no other external influence from which we can 



free the building, and the pervading energy must be com- 
municated to it, or it will not harmonize with our feelings ; 
therefore, before proceeding, we had better determine how 
this contrast is to be carried out in detail. 

Our lines are to be horizontal y then the roof must be as 
flat as possible. We need not think of snow, because, how- 
ever much we may slope the roof, it will not slip off from 
the material which, here, is the only proper one ; and the 
roof of the cottage is always very flat, which it would not 
be if there were any inconvenience attending such a form. 
But, for the sake of the second contrast, we are to have 
gracefulness and ease, as well as horizontality. Then we 
must break the line of the roof into different elevations, 
yet not making the difference great, or we shall have visi- 
ble verticals. And this must not be done at random. 
Take a flat line of beauty, a d, Fig. 10, for the length of 
the edifice. Strike a b horizontally from a, c d from d ; 
let fall the verticals ; make c f equal m n, the maximum ; 
and draw h f. The curve should be so far continued as 
that h f shall be to c d as c d to a b. Then we are sure of 
a beautifully proportioned form. Much variety may be 
introduced by using different curves ; joining paraboles 
with cycloids, etc. : but the use of curves is always the 
best mode of obtaining good forms. Further ease may be 
obtained by added combinations. For instance, strike 
another curve {a g b) through the flat line a b; bisect the 

~~ ftp 2 *** 

^ s 





Fig. 10. 

maximum v p, draw the horizontal r s, (observing to make 
the largest maximum of this curve towards the smallest 


maximum of the great curve, to restore the balance), join 
r q, s b, and we have another modification of the same 
beautiful form. This may be done in either side of the 
building, but not in both. Then, if the flat roof he still 
found monotonous, it may be interrupted by garret win- 
dows,, which must not be gabled, but turned with the curve 
a b, whatever that may be. This will give instant humility 
to the building, and take away any vestiges of Italian char- 
acter which might hang about it, and which would be 
wholly out of place. The windows may have tolerably 
broad architraves, but no cornices ; an ornament both 
haughty and classical in its effect, and, on both accounts, 
improper here. They should be in level lines, but grouped 
at unequal distances, or they will have a formal and artifi- 
cial air, unsuited to the irregularity and freedom around 
them. Some few of them may be arched, however, with 
the curve a b, the mingling of the curve and the square 
being very graceful. There should not be more than two 
tiers and the garrets, or the building: will be too high. 

So much for the general outline of the villa, in which 
we are to work by contrast. Let us pass over to that in 
which we are to work by assimilation, before speaking of 
the material and colour which should be common to both. 


The grand outline must be designed on exactly the same 
principles ; for the curvilinear proportions, which were 
opposition before, will now be assimilation. Of course, 
we do not mean to say that every villa in a hill country 
should have the form abed; we should be tired to death 
if they had: but wc bring forward that form, as an ex- 
ample of the agreeable result of the principles on which 
we should always work, but whose result should be the 
same in no two cases. A modification of that form, how- 



ever, will frequently be found useful ; for, under the de- 
pression hf, we may have a hall of entrance and of exercise, 
which is a requisite of extreme importance in hill districts, 
where it rains three hours out of four all the year round ; 
and under g d we may have the kitchen, servants' rooms, 
and coach-house, leaving the large division quiet and 

Then, as in the curved country there is no such distor- 
tion as that before noticed, no such evidence of violent 
agency, we need not be so careful about the appearance 
of perfect peace, we may be a little more dignified and a 
little more classical. The windows may be 'symmetrically 
arranged ; and, if there be a blue and undulating distance, 
the upper tier may even have cornices ; narrower archi- 
traves are to be used ; the garrets may be taken from the 
roof, and their inmates may be accommodated in the other 
side of the house ; but we must take care, in doing this, 
not to become Greek. The material, as we shall see pres- 
ently, will assist us in keeping u'nclassical; and not a 
vestige of column or capital must appear in any part of 
the edifice. All should be pure, but all should be Eng- 
lish ; and there should be here, as elsewhere, much of the 
utilitarian about the whole, suited to the cultivated coun- 
try in which it is placed. 

It will never do to be speculative or imaginative in our 
details, on the supposition that the tendency of fine scen- 
ery is to make everybody imaginative and enthusiastic. 
Enthusiasm has no business with Turkey carpets or easy 
chairs ; and the very preparation of comfort for the body, 
which the existence of the villa supposes, is inconsistent 
with the supposition of any excitement of mind : and this 
is another reason for keeping the domestic building in 
richly productive country. Nature has set aside her sub- 
lime bits for us to feel and think in ; she has pointed out 
her productive bits for us to sleep and eat in ; and, if we 



sleep and eat amongst the sublimity, we are brutal ; if we 
poetise amongst the cultivation, we are absurd. There 
are the time and place for each state of existence, and we 
should not jumble that which Nature has separated. She 
has addressed herself, in one part, wholly to the mind : 
there is nothing for us to eat but bilberries, nothing to 
rest upon but rock, and we have no business to concoct 
pic-nics, and bring cheese, and ale, and sandwiches, in 
baskets, to gratify our beastly natures, where Nature never 
intended us to eat (if she had, w r e needn't have brought 
the baskets). In the other pa.rt, she has provided for our 
necessities ; and we are very absurd, if we make ourselves 
fantastic, instead of comfortable. Therefore, all that we 
ought to do in the hill villa is, to adapt it for the habita- 
tion of a man of the highest faculties of perception 
and feeling ; but only for the habitation of his hours of 
common sense, not of enthusiasm ; it must be his dwelling 
as a man, not as a spirit ; as a thing liable to decay, not 
as an eternal energy ; as a perishable, not as an immortal. 

Keeping, then, in view these distinctions of form be- 
tween the two villas, the remainina- considerations relate 
equally to both. 

We have several times alluded to the extreme richness 
and variety of hill foregrounds, as an internal energy to 
which there must be no contrast. Rawness of colour is to 
be especially avoided, but so, also, is poverty of effect. It 
will, therefore, add much to the beauty of the building, if, 
in any conspicuous and harsh angle or shadowy moulding, 
we introduce a wreath of carved leaf- work, in stone, of 
course. This sounds startling and expensive ; but we are 
not thinking of expense: what ought to be, not what can 
be afforded, is the question. Besides, when all expense in 
shamming castles, building pinnacles, and all other fantas- 
ticisms, has been shown to be injurious, that which other- 
wise would have been wasted in plaster battlements, to do 



harm, may surely be devoted to stone leafage, to do good. 
Now, if there be too much, or too conspicuous, ornament, 
it will destroy simplicity and humility, and everything 
which we have been endeavouring to get ; therefore, the 
architect must be careful, and had better have immediate 
recourse to that natural beauty with which he is now en- 
deavouring to assimilate. When Nature determines on 
decorating a piece of projecting rock, she begins with 
the bold projecting surface, to which the eye is naturally 
drawn by its form, and (observe how closely she works by 
the principles which were before investigated) she finishes 
this with lichens, and mingled colours, to a degree of deli- 
cacy, which makes us feel that we never can look close 
enough ; but she puts in not a single mass of form to at- 
tract the eye, more than the grand outline renders neces- 
sary. But, where the rock joins the ground, where the 
shadow falls, and the eye is not attracted, she puts in bold 
forms of ornament, large leaves and grass, bunches of 
moss and heather, strong in their projection, and deep in 
their colour. Therefore, the architect must act on pre- 
cisely the same principle : his outward surfaces he may 
leave the wind and weather to finish in their own way; 
but he cannot allow Nature to put grass and weeds into 
the shadows; ergo, he must doit himself ; and, whenever 
the eye loses itself in shade, wherever there is a dark and 
sharp corner, there, if he can, he should introduce a wreath 
of flower-work. The carving will be preserved from the 
weather by this very propriety of situation : it would have 
mouldered away, had it been exposed to the full drift of 
the rain, but will remain safe in the crevices where it is 
required; and, also, it will not injure the general effect, 
but will lie concealed until we approach, and then rise up, 
as it were, out of the darkness, to its duty ; bestowing on 
the dwellings that finish of effect which is manifested 
around them, and gratifying the natural requirement of 



the mind for the same richness in the execution of the 
designs of men, which it has found on a near approach 
lavished so abundantly, in a distant view subdued so beau- 
tifully into the large effects of the designs of nature. 

Of the ornament itself, it is to be observed that it is not 
to be what is properly called architectural decoration 
(that which is " decorous," becoming, or suitable to) ; 
namely, the combination of minor forms, which repeat 
the lines, and partake of the essence of the grand design, 
and carry out its meaning and life into its every, member : 
but it is to be true sculpture ; the presenting of a pure 
ideality of form to the eye, which may give perfect con- 
ception, without the assistance of colour : it is to be the 
stone image of vegetation, not botanically accurate, indeed, 
but sufficiently near to permit us to be sure of the in- 
tended flower or leaf. Not a single line of any other 
kind of ornament should be admitted, and there should be 
more leafage than flower-work, as it is the more easy in 
its flow and outline. Deep relief need not be attempted, 
but the edges of the leafage should be clearly and deli- 
cately defined. The cabbage, the vine, and the ivy are 
the best and most beautiful leaves : oak is a little too stiff, 
otherwise good. Particular attention ought to be paid to 
the ease of the stems and tendrils ; such care will always 
be repaid. And it is to be especially observed, that the 
carving is not to be arranged in garlands or knots, or any 
other formalities, as in Gothic work ; but the stalks are to 
rise out of the stone, as if they were rooted in it, and to 
fling themselves down where they are wanted, disappear- 
ing again in light sprays, as if they were still growing. 
All this will require care in designing; but, as we have 
said before, we can always do without decoration ; but, if 
we have it, it must be well done. It is not of the slightest 
use to economise ; every farthing improperly saved does a 
shilling's worth of damage; and that is getting a bargain 



the wrong way. When one branch or group balances 
another, they must be different in composition.' The same 
group may be introduced several times in different parts, 
but not when there is correspondence, or the effect will be 
unnatural ; and it can hardly be too often repeated, that 
the ornament must be kept out of the general effect, must 
be invisible to all but the near observer, and, even to him, 
must not become a necessary part of the design, but must 
be sparingly and cautiously applied, so as to appear to 
have been thrown in by chance here and there, as Nature 
would have thrown in a bunch of herbage, affording 
adornment without concealment, and relief without inter- 


So much for form. The question of colour has already 
been discussed at some length, in speaking of the cottage ; 
but it is to be noticed, that the villa, from the nature of 
its situation, gets the higher hills back into a distance 
which is three or four times more blue than any piece of 
scenery entering into combination with the cottage ; so 
that more warmth of colour is allowable in the building, 
as well as greater cheerfulness of effect. It should not 
look like stone, as the cottage should, but should tell as a 
building on the mind as well as the eye. White, there- 
fore, is frequently allowable in small quantities, par- 
ticularly on the border of a large and softly shored lake, 
like Windermere and the foot of Loch Lomond ; but 
cream-colour, and putty-colour, and the other varieties of 
plaster colour, are inexcusable. If more warmth is re- 
quired by the situation than the sun will give on white, 
the building should be darkened at once. A warm, rich 
grey is always beautiful in any place and under every 
circumstance ; and, in fact, unless the proprietor likes to 



be kept damp like a travelling codfish, by trees about his 
house and close to it (which, if it be white, he must have, 
to prevent glare), such a grey is the only colour which 
will be beautiful, or even innocent. The difficulty is to 
obtain it ; and this naturally leads to the question of ma- 
terial. If the colour is to be white, we can have no orna- 
ment, for the shadows would make it far too conspicuous, 
and we should get only tawdriness. The simple forms 
may be executed in anything that will stand wet ; and 
the roofs, in all cases, should be of the coarse slate of the 
country, as rudely put on as possible. They must be kept 
clear of moss and conspicuous vegetation, or there will be 
an improper appearance of decay ; but the more lichen- 
ous the better, and the rougher the slate the sooner it is 
coloured. If the colour is to be grey, we may use the 
grey primitive limestone, which is not ragged on the 
edges, without preparing the blocks too smoothly ; or the 
more compact and pale-coloured slate, which is frequently 
done in Westmoreland ; and execute the ornaments in 
any very coarse dark marble. Greenstone is an excellent 
rock, and has a fine surface, but it is unmanageable. The 
greyer granites may often be used with good effect, as 
well as the coarse porphyries, when the grey is to be par- 
ticularly warm. An outward surface of a loose block 
may be often turned to good account in turning an angle, 
as the colours which it has contracted by its natural ex- 
posure will remain on it without inducing damp. It is 
always to be remembered, that he who prefers neatness to 
beauty, and who would have sharp angles, and clean sur- 
faces, in preference to curved outlines and lichenous 
colour, has no business to live among hills. 

Such, then, are the principal points to be kept in view 
in the edifice itself. Of the mode of uniting it with the 
near features of foliage and ground, it would be utterly 
useless to speak : it is a question of infinite variety, and 



involving the whole theory of composition, so that it. 
would take up volumes to develope principles sufficient to 
guide us to the result which the f eeliug of the practised 
eye would arrive at in a moment. The inequalities of 
the ground, the character and colour of those inequalities, 
the nature of the air, the exposure, and the consequent 
fall of the light, the quantity and form of near and dis- 
tant foliage, all have their effect on the design, and should 
have their influence on the designer, inducing, as they do, 
a perfect change of circumstance in every locality. Only 
one general rule can be given, and that we repeat. The 
house must not be a noun substantive, it must not stand 
by itself, it must be part and parcel of a proportioned 
whole : it must not even be seen all at once ; and he who 
sees one end should feel that, from the given data, he can 
arrive at no conclusion respecting the other, yet be im- 
pressed with a feeling of a universal energy, pervading 
with its beauty of unanimity all life and all inanimation, 
all forms of stillness or motion, all presence of silence or 
of sound. 






Abacus. — The plate or tile above the capital on which rests the archi- 

Accessories. — Nearly every work of art, independent of the principal 
figures, has objects which, without being indispensably necessary 
to the subject, essentially contribute to the beauty and perfection 
of the whole, and which are, in some degree, explanatory of the 
subject, as architecture, drapery, furniture, dogs, cats, to be in 
short, anything that carries and harmonizes colour, fills up blank 
spaces, forms contrasts, balances masses, and helps lead the eye 
round the picture. Some painters introduce unnecessary acces- 
sories. Paul Veronese often offended in this respect; so did 
Rubens, and so do generally the Dutch and Flemish painters. 
Hogarth was exceedingly ingenious in his accessories, though he 
sometimes overloaded them. 

Accidental Points. — In perspective, vanishing points that do not fall 
on the horizontal line. 

Achromatic. — Wanting colour. 

Aerial Perspective is to the hue of objects what Linear Perspective 
is to their form. The atmosphere modifies colour and outline. 

Allegory needs not, as the parable, an interpretation to be brought to 
it from without, since it contains its interpretation within itself, 
and as the allegory proceeds the interpretation proceeds with it, 
hand in hand. Pilgrim's Progress is an allegory in writing ; 
Cole's four pictures of the Voyage of Life, Raphael's ' ' School of 
Athens " in the Vatican are allegorical paintings ; and Michael 
Angelo's statues of Day and Night on the tomb of the Medici 
at Florence, are allegorical statues. 



Almery. — A place to keep sacred vessels. 
Alcove. — A recess, usually set off by columns. 
Alto Relievo. — High relief. 
Ambo. —A pulpit or raised platform. 

Amphipro style. — A building having a portico at both ends. 
Amphitheatre. — An elliptical theatre, or two theaties built end bo 

Ancones. — Modillions placed vertically. 
Aisles. — Wings or sides of the nave. 

Ant^e. — Square pillars or pilasters attached to the wall, with capitals 

different from the associated columns. 
Antique.— Precious relics of antiquity. 

Apophyge. — A small facite, by which the shaft is attached to the fillet 
of the base. 

Apse. — The round or polygonal end of a church behind the altar. 

Apteral. — A temple without columns at the ends. 

Arabesque. — Ornaments with which the Arabs adorned the walls, ceil- 
ings, and floors of their buildings ; fruits, flowers, mathematical 
figures ; in short, everything except the forms of men and animals, 
which were forbidden to be represented by Mahomet. 

Architecture. — The art of building. The Greeks had five orders, 
called so from the order or proportion of their columns, and the 
Goths, or western people, had their styles, named from their deco- 
rations, as the Early English, Geometrical, Perpendicular, and 

Architrave. — A beam; that part of the entablature which lies im- 
mediately upon the capital or head of the column. 
Archivolt. — The interior face of an arch between the imposts. 
Area. — An open space within a building. 

Areostyle. — An arrangement of columns, when four diameters are 
allowed between them. 

Arris. — A meeting of two surfaces producing an angle. 

Art. — Art is not nature, nor can it equal nature. Fine Art, says Iius- 
kin, is that in which the hand, the head, and the heart of man go 
together. Great Art is nothing else than the type of strong and 
noble life. All great art is delicate. Greatness in art is that which 
conveys to the mind of the spectator the greatest number of the 
greatest ideas. Power in art is the doing of much with restricted 

Astragal. — A semicircular moulding. 

Attitude. — The position of an animated figure. With several figures 

the attitudes must be different. See Composition, Grouping. 
Astylar. — Without columns. 



Attic. — A room above the cornice. 

^Esthetic. — The doctrine of the sense, generally confined to matters of 


Background. — The field or space of a picture which surrounds the 
figures in historical subjects or portraits, and to the different plans 
in the distance in landscape painting*, and must be in unison with 
the subject. See text, " Background." 

Balcony. — A projection from the wall supported by consoles or pillars, 
and surrounded by a balustrade. 

Baluster. — A small pillar supporting a rail. 

Balance. — Colours are balanced when by opposition they are so neutra- 
lized that no one appears principal or predominant. 
Balustrade. — A connected range of balusters. 

Bambocciate. — Paintings representing fairs, drolleries, and village 

feasts, called genre painting by the French. 
Band. — A moulding with a square profile. 
Bandlet. — A very narrow band. 
Baptistry. — A chapel for the rite of baptism. 

Bargeboard. — A board generally used on gables where the roof ex- 
tends over the walls. 

Bartizan. — A turret over the roof and within the parapet. 

Base. — The lower part of a column. 

Basilica. — A town or court hall ; a cathedral ; a palace. 

Bas-relief. — Figures which have a very slight projection from the 
ground are said to be in has or low relief. It admits of a great 
number of characters, and may be called sculptured painting. 

BATTLEMENT. — Indentations on the top or parapet of a wall. 

Batter. — A wall not built in a perpendicular direction. 

Bay. — An opening between piers, beams, mullions of windows, the ribs 
of a groined roof. A recess in a chamber. 

Bay-window. — A projecting window lighting a recess. 

Bed-moulding. — The moulding between the cornice and the frieze. 

Belvidere. — A prospect tower or turret above a building ; an obser- 

Bema. — The platform for speakers ; a pulpit. 

Bbnetier. — A vessel for holy water at the church door. 

Bodegones. — A Spanish term for pictures of inanimate objects, as 

earthen vessels, dead game, etc. 
Boss. — A carved ornament at the intersection of the ribs in a groined 




Bloom. — A mildew effect on pictures. 
j Bracket. — A projection from the face of a wall to carry sculpture or 
support a weight. 
Branches. — The ribs of a groined roof. 

Breadth. — An abundance of one thing in one place, as of lights or 
darks or colours, and is always indicative of a master. When the 
lights are massed, the darks must be massed to support them. 
While there must be no emptiness, there must be no evident detail. 
There are details that are essential, and there are details that are 
not essential. The breadth of the forearm of Michael Angelo's 
Moses is destroyed by the anatomical details. Haydon says, ' ' There 
is no doubt that breadth without detail proves more comprehensive 
than detail without breadth ; but it is not a balance of evils we 
seek, but a principle of perfection." To secure breadth a principal 
part must be made predominant, and parts that are secondary 
must be kept in due subordination, and thus detail in its technical 
sense is opposed to breadth. 

Broach. — A spire or polygonal pyramid. 

Broken Colours are mixed colours. In nature as in art there is but 

little colour that is not broken. If inharmonious colours are mixed, 

the hue is said to be "foul " or dirty. 
Buttress. — A projection on the exterior of a wall between the windows 

to strengthen the piers, and at angles, to resist the thrust of the 

arches within. 


Cable. — The partial filling up the lower part of the fluting of a column. 
Caissons. — Sunk panels in ceilings or soffits. 

Cameo. — Gems cut in relief, or raised, while intaglio refers to a figure 

Camayeu. — Monochrome. Painting in one colour. The pictures of 
Polidori Caravaggio, for example, by their heavy brown tint give 
the impression of monochrome painting, and with all their perfec- 
tion are but pictures en camayeu. 

Camp ana. — The part of a Corinthian capital on which the leaves are 

Campanile. — A round or square tower for bells, detached from the 
church ; as the leaning tower at Pisa, the tower at Florence, Venice, 

Canopy. — An ornament over tombs and altars, projecting from the walls 

or supported by columns. 
Capital. — The head of a column. 



Caricature.— The epigram or wit of painting. Gilray, Cruikshank, 
and Doyle established a school of caricature. 

Cartoon. — Design on paper, in full size, pierced in the prominent out- 
lines with pin-holes so as to be transferred to walls for fresco. 

Casement. — The frame of a window ; also a moulding. 

Caryatides. — Figures of women used for columns. 

Catherine Wheel Window. — A wheel window with rich tracery. 

Cavetto.— A hollow moulding, one-quarter of a circle. 

Chamfer. — A corner or angle cut off. 

Chaniry. ) ^ sma rj building attached to a cathedral or large church. 
Chapel.— \ 

Charged. — Anything extravagant. This does not refer to that neces- 
sary exaggeration which is sometimes required in colour, form, or 
expression to suit locality. 

Chevron, or Zigzag. — A Norman moulding. 

CniAROSCURO. — The lights and darks of a picture. 

Choir. — The front part of the chancel for the singers. 

Cinquefoil. — A five-leaved Gothic ornament for tracery. 

Colonnade. — A row of columns supporting an entablature. 

Column. — A round pillar having a base, a shaft, and a capital. 

Colour, Colourists. — See text. 

Clere Story. — The upper windows in a Gothic church. 
Cloister. — A corridor or covered passage-way or walk round an inte- 
rior area ; a monastery. 
Composition. — See text. 
Contour. — See text, "Outline." 

Contrast. — The opposite of repetition. There is the contrast of light 
and shade which constitute chiaroscuro : contrast of the primary 
colours red, yellow, and blue, or of these primaries with their 
secondaries or complementaries : red with green, yellow with pur- 
ple ; blue by orange or brown ; .contrast in the movement of differ- 
ent figures, and even in the different parts of the same figure ; an- 
other in the age, sex, or passions of the different personages. Thus 
each figure is frequently in contrast with the others in the same 
group, and the several groups are contrasted with each other. The 
judicious arrangement of this contrast or opposition forms one of 
the greatest requisites of a fine work of art. 

Coping. — A sloping stone on the top of a wall to throw off the rain- 

CORBEL. — A projection from the surface of a wall to carry a weight, 

and generally ornamented. 
Cornice. — The upper part of an entablature. 

Correctness. — Correctness of design, as it relates to the beauty of art, 



consists in the exact observance of the just proportions of the 
figure or building. This has no reference to the effect of locality. 
Corridor. — A gallery or open communication to different parts of a 

Crenelle. — The openings of an embattled parapet. 

Crocket. — An ornament resembling a bunch of leaves, chiefly used at 

the angles of pinnacles or canopies. 
Crypt. — A vault, generally under the eastern end of a church. 
Cupola. — A small room, sometimes called a lantern, placed on the top 

of a dome. 

Cusps. — The points where two circles meet that form the trefoils, 

quatrefoils, etc. 
Cyma. — A moulding, convex below and concave above. 


Dado, or Die. — The middle member of a pedestal. 

Decorative Art is the being fitted for a fixed place. There is no ex- 
isting highest-order art but is decorative. The best sculpture yet 
produced has been the decoration of a temple front ; the best 
painting, the decoration of a room. Raphael's best doing is merely 
the fresco or wall-colouring of a suite of apartments in the Vatican, 
and his cartoons were made for tapestries. Correggio's best doing 
is the fresco decoration of two small church cupolas at Parma ; 
Michael Angelo's, of a ceiling in the Pope's private chapel ; Tinto- 
retto's of a ceiling and side-wall belonging to a charitable society at 
Venice ; while Titian and Veronese threw out their noblest thoughts 
not even on the inside, but on the outside, of the common brick 
and plaster walls of Venice. Decorative art, in nature and es- 
sence, is its being fitted for a definite place. Portable art, inde- 
pendent of all place, is, for the most part, ignoble art. Very fre- 
quently the highest compliment you can pay a cabinet picture is to 
say, "It is as grand as a fresco." 

Demitint is not simply a half tint, but any tint harmonizing a picture ; 
any colour that serves as a passage from one tint to another. 

Dentil. — Small blocks in the entablature resembling teeth. 

Design means the art of imitating, by a trace or outline, the form of 
the object presented to the view. With respect to the human fig- 
ure it must be, 1, correct, or with anatomical exactness; 2, appro*' 
priate. Rembrandt violates this when, in " Christ Scourged," he 
represents Jews by the portraits of Dutchmen. 3. There must be 
unity of design, or but one subject. 



Diapered. — Arabesque or flower-wall decoration. 

Diastyle. — Columns placed three diameters apart. 

Dipteral. — A temple with double range of columns all around. 

Distance. — The extreme boundary of view in a picture. 

Distemper. — Painting- with water-colours mixed with white of egg or 
glue, as sizeing, to make the color adhere. Distemper is painting on 
dry plaster ; fresco on wet. 

Dodecastyle. — A temple with twelve columns in front. 

Dome. — An arched or vaulted roof, springing from a polygonal, circu- 
lar, or elliptical base. 

Donjon, or Keep. — A massive tower in ancient castles, usually near 
the centre. It contained the principal rooms. Beneath were the 
prisons ; hence called dungeons. 

Dormer is the story in the roof of a house ; hence a dormer-window 
is a window on the slope of a roof or spire. 

Drapery. — 1. The folds must conform with the movement of the 
figure. 2. In historical painting the folds should be large and 
few, because the grandeur of the forms produces broad and simple 
masses of light and shadow, — drapery being meant to cover, not to 
hide the figure. 3. Drapery should be suited to the age, character, 
and rank of the figure. 

Drip. — A beveiled moulding above or below an opening to shed rain. 

Dryness implies a harshness and formality in the outline, and a want 
of mellowness in the colouring, frequently seen in the work of 
young artists. 

Dungeon. — A prison in the basement of a donjon. 


Echinus. — An egg-shaped ornament in the Ionic capital. 

Elegance is a quality of mingled grace and beauty, as shown espe- 
cially in the figures of Correggio. 

Elevation. — An upright plan of a building. 

Emijrasure, or Crexelle. — A splayed opening in a wall. 

Enamel painting is done on gold and copper metal by burning in the 

Encarpus. — The festoons of fruits and flowers on a frieze. 
Encaustic is painting with a wax medium fixed upon the canvas or 
panel by heat. 

ENTABLATURE. — The horizontal parts — the architrave, frieze, and cor- 
nice — resting on the column. 

ENTASIS. — The middle of a perfect column slightly swells, to prevent 
the appearance of being thinner than it really is. 




Eustyle. — Columns placed two diameters and a quarter apart — es- 
teemed by the ancients as the most elegant distance. 

Exaggeration. — Art is not nature, but is driven to exaggeration to 
represent nature. Sunlight cannot be painted, but something like 
the effect of it may be represented. See 2 M. P. 203. 

Execution. — Euskin says, 1 M. P. : "By the term execution I under- 
stand the right mechanical use of the means of art to produce a given 
end. The first quality is truth ; the second, simplicity ; the third, 
mystery ; the fourth, inadequacy ; the fifth, decision; the sixth, 
velocity. It is the same as handling, penciling, etc. 

Expression is the human frame under some sentiment, and is either 1, 
positive, as when the expression is suitable to any character by itself ; 
2, relative, as when in itself it is bad, but good in its connection — 
as in Eapkaels St. Michael Discomfiting the Evil One. Acting un- 
der the influence of Omnipotence he vanquishes the demon with- 
out the expression of an effort. This was sublime as the minister 
of the Deity, but would have been ridiculous as a mere man. 


Facade. — The principal front of a building. 
Fascia. — The flat surface of an architrave, etc. 

Fan-tracery. — A vault with the ribs radiating like those of an open 
fan, as in the chapel of Henry VII., Westminster. 

Fillet. — A small square member dividing a moulding. 

FlNiAL. — The ornament which crowns a pinnacle or canopy. 

Flamboyant Architecture. — Window tracery with the mullions 
aspiring and winding upwards like flames. 

Flutings. — Perpendicular channels in the shaft of a column. 

Flying-buttress. — An arch springing from a pier to a wall to support 
the wall. 

Foil- arch. — An arch formed of a series of small arches. 
Foliation. — Ornaments in imitation of leaves, flowers, etc. 
Foreground. — The front part of a picture. 

Foreshortening is one of the most difficult studies in the art of design, 
and constitutes the excellence of the master. Auy object is fore- 
shortened when its end is presented to the eye instead of the side 
or full length. 

Fresco. — Painting on wet plaster in water-colours. 

jtiuct. — A sort of bordering or ornamental work laid on a flat sur- 

Frieze. — In the entablature or horizontal construction ^supported by 



columns, the lower part is called the architrave ; the middle, the 
frieze ; and the upper, the cornice. 


Gable is the triangularly headed roof which is at the end of a wall. 

In Grecian architecture it is called a pediment. 
Gable-window. — A window in a gable, generally the largest in the 


Gargoyle. — A grotesque water-spout at the roof. 

Generalization, says Ruskin, Pref. 1 M. P., xxxiv.,as the word is 
commonly understood, is the act of a vulgar, incapable, and un- 
thinking mind. An animal must be either one animal or another 
animal ; it cannot be a general animal, or it is no animal ; and so a 
rock must be either one rock or another rock ; it cannot be a general 
rock, or it is no rock. It is just as impossible to generalize granite 
and slate as it is to generalize a man and a cow. 

Genre-Painting. — Pictures of domestic life and manners — small pic- 
tures of character dramatically represented, as Hogarth's, which, for 
want of a definite character, are classed together as of a certain 
kind or genre (pronounced jar). 

Genre-sculpture. — All odd conceits in marble are so named. 

Glypus. — Channels. Triglyphs are three channels in a Doric frieze. 

Gradation. — In architecture, gradation goes hand in hand with the rules 
of proportion and perspective ; in painting, gradation of colour and 
light is needed to express depth and relief, to define distances, and 
to show the state of the atmosphere. Gradation is in all colours, 
forms, and sounds. 

Grissaille. — In grey. An ink-sketch. 

Groin. — The lines formed by the intersection of two or more vaults. 
Group. — See text. 

Guillociie. — A kind of ornament composed of undulating lines, and 
parallel in their colours to each other. 


Hammer-beam. — A beam in Gothic architecture which projects from 

the wall in the place where a tie-beam would be. 
Handling is the manner of execution by which the artist produces 

finish ; it is the method of manipulation peculiar to each artist in 

the use of his pencil. 
Hanging-style. — That to which the hinges of doors and windows arc 




Harmony. — The principal means of producing- effect. It consists in 
the unity, connection, similarity, and agreement of one part with 
another, under the relations of form, light, and colour. Parallelism 
or repetition is an element of harmony, and also of monotony. 
Harmony of Chiaroscuro is when the lights and shades are in the 
same general strength. Harmony of Colours is a repose of tone with- 
out sameness of tint throughout the picture. Repose is harmony. 

Hem. — The spiral projecting part of an Ionic capital. 

Heptastyle. — A building with seven columns in front. 

Hexastyle. — A building with six columns in front. 

Horizontal Line. — See Perspective, in text. 

Hovel. — A niche or canopy for a statue. 

Hue. — A mixture of two or more primary colours. 

Hypcethral. — Having no roof. 


Ideal. — The ideal is that which unites in one form all the excellences 
found only in different individual forms, as the Medicean Venus. 
This, considered as the ideal, is not a portrait statue of an individual 
model, but is an aggregate of many models, each of which contrib- 
uted its peculiar excellence. Ruskin says, " Any work of art which 
represents, not a material object, but the mental conception of a 
material object, is, in the primary sense of the word, ideal. Raphael 
said. ' To paint a beautiful woman I must see several.' " 

Imitation is such a resemblance as to make anything to so look like 
what it is not as nearly to deceive. See this fully discussed, 1 M. 
P. , ch. iv. 

Impasto. — The thickness or thinness of paint. Rembrandt and Salvator 
Rosa used thick ; Raphael and Guido, so thin that the threads of 
the canvas and crayon outline may be seen through it. 

Impost. — The point of junction between an arch and its pier or col- 

Intaglio. — Figures cut into the material used for seals, etc. 
Intercolumniation. — The space between the columns of a temple or 

Interpenetration is a principle of great technical value in composi- 
tion. It consists in carrying portions of light into the principal 
masses of shade, and placing small spaces of dark upon light into 
proper balance and relation to each other. It is, in fact, contrast 
artfully contrived, and its success depends on proportion and bal- 
ance. The principle refers to an exchange of colours also, carrying 
the warm colours into cold colours, and cold into warm. 




Jube. — A gallery or rude loft over the choir, to which was generally at- 
tached a pulpit. 


Keep. — The central tower of a castle. 

Keeping. — An attention to the proper subserviency of tone and colour 
in every part of a picture, so that the general effect is harmonious 
to the eye, all parts keeping together. When this is unattended to, 
a harshness is produced which gives improper isolation to indi- 
vidual parts, and the picture is said to be out of keeping. 

Knob. — The boss at the crowning of a groin. 

Key-stone. — The central stone at the top of an arch. 

Keng-post. — The middle post in a roof. 


Lectern. — A desk at which the Scripture lessons are read. 

Lintel. — A horizontal beam over a doorway or window. 

Llnear Perspective, in contradistinction to aerial perspective, is 
that art which mathematically determines the gradation which 
every line and angle in a building should take in a picture in refer- 
ence to a vanishing point. 

Llne op Beauts'. — The ideal line formed by a graceful figure of any 
kind. The wavy line. 

Line of Grace. — The serpentine line. 

Loggia.— A covered space with open sides. 

Loop. — A small narrow window. 

Louvre. — A window in a turret. 


MACHICOLATIONS. — Openings in a parapet, set out on corbels, through 
which missels may be dropped on assailants below. 

MACHINISTS. — Painters remarkable for gaudiness of colour, fluttering 
draperies, and unnatural exaggeration. 

Manner. — 1. A peculiarity of habit, whether good or bad, by which an 
artist's work may be known. 2. In a more special sense the man- 



ner of a master is nothing but his peculiar way of choosing-, imag- 
ining, and representing the subjects of his pictures. It includes 
what are called his style and handling ; that is, the ideal part, 
and the mechanical part. The style of a painter may be known 
by that which is peculiar to Mm, just as that of a writer may be 
known by his handwriting, fashion of words, choice of subjects, 
and turn of phrases. 

Mannered. — An affectation of style. 

Mannerism. — The excess or obtrusion of a style. 

Mannerist. — One who practises a marked peculiarity of style 

adopted, improperly, for all subjects. 
Masses. — To mass a part is to give prominence to principal things and 

to reject those details which cut it up into little pieces. 
Members. — Different parts of an entablature, moulding, etc. 
Metope. — The space between the triglyph on the frieze of the Doric 


Merlon.— The solid part of an embattled parapet. 
Miserere. — Choir seats for the aged clergy. 
Mitre. — Anything joined at an angle of forty-five degrees. 
Mitre. — The head-covering of a bishop, cardinal, etc. 
Modillion. — A horizontal bracket under a Corinthian cornice. 
Module. — The semi-diameter of a column. 
Monotriglyphic .- — Triglyphs only over each column. 
Morbidezza. — The soft and delicate flesh- colouring of Titian and Cor- 

Mtjlliqn. — The tracery and perpendicular divisions in the interior 

framework of a Gothic window. 
Mutules. — A flat modillion ornament under a Doric cornice. 


Nattjralisti. — Artists who strictly copied nature, as the pre-Ea- 

Naos, or Cella. — The interior of a temple. 

Naye. — The long central part of the church for the people. It is from 

the Latin nans, a ship. 
Newel. — The post at the foot of stairs. 

Nimbus. — The nimbus is of Pagan origin, used to ornament the heads 
of the statues of their emperors and divinities, and to protect them 
from the filth of birds, and with much difficulty, about the eleventh 
century, was admitted into Christian art. The aureola was for the 
whole body. Among the miniatures of the JSortus Deliciarum, 



painted in 1180, is a representation of the Celestial Paradise, in 
which the heads of the Virgin, the apostles, the martyrs, and con- 
fessors wear the golcUn nimbus ; those of the prophets and the 
patriarchs, the white or silver nimbus; those of the saints who 
strove with temptation, the red nimbus ; those who were married 
have the nimbus green ; while the beatified penitents have theirs 
of yellowish white. The nimbus is variously formed, but generally 


Ogee. — The French for Gothic. A moulding with contrasted curves, 

convex on the upper side, and concave at the under. 
Olive. — A mixture of purple and green. 
Oratory. — A private chapel for prayer. 

Order. — An entire column, consisting of base, shaft, and capital, with 
an entablature. There are strictly three ; the Doric, the Ionic, 
and the Corinthian. The Tuscan and the Composite are but modi- 
fications of the other three. 

Oriel. — A window projecting from a wall, used originally as a little 
oratory, a place for private prayer. 

Ordonnaxce. — The arrangement of a design. 

Outline.— See text. 

Ovolo. — A moulding, the quarter of a round of a circle. 


Palette. — A piece of wood, usually of walnut or mahogany, upon 
which the painter lays the pigments with which he paints his pic- 
tures. To "set the palette " is to lay upon it the pigments in cer- 
tain order, selecting them according to the key in which the picture 
is to be painted, and arranging them very much as the colours are to 
be distributed on the canvas. 

Parapet. — A breastwork around a roof or wall. 

Pastel. — Coloured crayons. Pastel paintings have too soft and mealy 
a look, or moulder by the natural disintegration of the chalk. 

Pasticcio. — An original picture closely after the manner of another 

Pedestal. — A base, die, and cornice, supporting a statue, and some- 
times a column. 

PEDIMENT. — The obtuse gable over the portico of a classic temple, sup- 
ported by columns. 
Pendant. — A hanging ornament on roofs or ceilings. 



Pentastyle. — A portico of five columns. 

Pentacle. — A five-pointed star or double triangle ornament, the sym- 
bol of the Trinity. 

Penthouse. — A covering- or canopy over a door or window, or stairs. 

Perches. — Brackets in churches, for images or candlesticks. 

Peripteral. — A temple with columns on all sides. 

Peristyle. — A colonnade around the interior of a square. 

Piazza. — Arcades ; or an open area or square surrounded by arcades. 

Picturesque. — Romantic scenery, or the variety of light and shade, 
colour, and broken surfaces. In architecture a ruin. No new build- 
ing can be picturesque. 

Pier. — A wall between two windows ; the two legs of an arch — the 
supports of a bridge. 

Pigment. — The vegetable, animal, and mineral coloured materials used 
in painting ; they are opaque, and hide all beneath them, or trans- 
parent, and combine when laid one above another, as transparent yel- 
low over a blue ground produces green, etc. 

Pilaster. — A square shallow pillar, engaged or attached to a wall. 

Pillar. — Any round or polygonal shaft, disengaged from the wall, 
and not conformed in the proportions of a column of the classical 
orders, used to support an arch or pediment. 

Pinnacle. — A small spire or pointed termination to towers, turrets, 
and buttresses. 

Pix. — A small vessel to contain the consecrated wafer or host. 

Plan. — A map of a building. 

Plinth. — The block under the base of a column. 

Podium. — A running pedestal, supporting a series of columns round a 

building. A stylobate. 
Point of distance. See text. 
Point of sight. See text. 

Porch. — A small covered entrance into a building. 
Portable Art. — Statues or cabinet pictures as distinguished from 

Portico. — The vestibule of a temple ; a covered walk. 

Pre-Raphaelites. — A school of modem artists who profess to follow 
the mode of study and expression adopted by the early painters 
who nourished before the time of Raphael, and whose principle 
was that of absolute uncompromising truth in all that it does, 
obtained by working everything down to the most minute detail 
from nature, and from nature only; or, as must have happened, not 
prettily might have happened, in contradistinction to the style or 
rendering of any particular school of art. Every pre-Raphaelite 
landscape background is painted to the last touch, and in the open 



air, from the thing itself. Every pre-Eaphaelite figure, however 

studied in expression, is a true portrait of some living person. 

Every minute accessory is painted in the same manner. This is 

the main pre-Raphaelite principle. 
Primary Colours. — Red, blue, and yellow. 
Principality. — A leading idea. See text. 
Pronaos. — The vestibule of a temple. 

Proscenium. — The front part of the stage before the curtain of a 

Proportion. — A srdtable relation of height to breadth ; symmetry; a 

balance of equal horizontal parts. 
Propyleum. — A vestibule to the gates of a building, as at Athens. 
Prostyle. — A building with columns in front only. 
Purlins. — Horizontal timbers sustaining the common rafters. 
Pulvinated. — A convex instead of a flat frieze. 
Pycno style. — Columns one and a half diameters apart. 


Quadrangle. — A square or court surrounded by buildings. 
Quatrefoil. — An ornament of four leaves formed by four points in a 

circle called cusps. 
Quoins. — The corners, sometimes with ornamented stones. 


Rails. — In framing the pieces horizontal to the perpendicular stiles. 
Raking Cornices. — The inclined cornices of a pediment. 
Relievo. — The projection of an architectural ornament, either high or 
low relief. 

Renaissance. — Literally new birth. A term applied to the revival of 
classic art and literature in the fifteenth century, resulting, so far as 
decoration is concerned, from a discovery by Raphael of the paint- 
ings in the then recently exhumed Thermae of Titus, of classic 

Respond.— A pilaster or half pier to sustain an arch. 

Re re -dos. — The screen at the back of the altar ; sometimes applied to 

the screen in front of the choir, upon which the rood or crucifix 

was placed. 

Rib. — The mouldings of ceilings, vaults and groins. 
Ridge. — The top of the roof. 
Rood. — A crucifix. 




Rood-loft. — The top of the screen for the rood. 

Hose Window. — A circular window in which the mullions converge 

like the spokes of a wheel, sometimes called Catherine wheel. 
Russet. — Orange and purple mixed. 


Schools of Art. — Certain modes of drawing and painting of some 
great master, and followed by his pupils, have led to the founda- 
tion of well-defined " schools." A new line of subjects can hardly 
be said to originate a school. But Raphael in his power of expres- 
sion, Titian in his force of colour, Rembrandt in centralizing light, 
and Turner in his original treatment of landscape, may be said to 
have been masters, and given something new to art, as teachers 
and patterns to students. 

I. — The Florentine School, or the school of Expression, founded by 

Fiesole and Masaccio. This school diverged into different styles, 
consisting of 1. Such as studied exact natural truth, like the pre- 
Raphaelites now, led by Ghirlandajo. 2. Such as combined with 
such truth a species of poetic treatment, as Fra Filippo Lippi, 
Botticelli and Gozzoii. 3. Such as adopted a sculpturesque treat- 
ment of the figure, as seen in the works of Verrochio. To this 
school belonged Da Vinci and Michael Angelo. 

II. — The Roman School, or the school of Form, led by Raphael and 

adorned by G-iulio Romano and Marratti, Mazzolina, Zucchero, and 

III. — The Venetian School, or the school of Colour, led by Titian and 
distinguished by Tintoretto and Paul Veronese. 

IV. — The Lombard or Bolognian School, or the school of the Eclectics, 

founded by the Caracci. Its aim was to " adopt the design of the 
Roman, with the colour of the Lombard school, adding the motion 
and shade of that of Venice ; join the just symmetry of Raphael 
with the power of Michael Angelo, the purity of Correggio, the 
truth of Titian, the decorum and solidity of Tebaldi, the learned 
invention of Primaticcio, and a little of Parmegiano's grace P Ludo- 
vico Caracci and his cousins, Agostino and Annibale Caracci, and 
Correggio, Guido Rene, Guercino, Giardano and Nicholas Poussin 
distinguished this school. 

V. — The German School was founded by the versatile genius of Albert 

Durer, and numbered in its disciples Holbein and Mengs. It was 
pre-Raphaelite, adhering closely to nature, as is seen in its modern 
representatives, Cornelius, Kaulbacli, and Overbeck. 



VI. — The Flemish School combines with the German after the middle of 

the sixteenth century. The Van Eycks began it. Its great glorie3 
centre in Rubens and Van Dyck. Teniers was also of it. 

VII. — The Dutch School had Rembrandt for its glory. Its great artistic 
excellences were mainly bestowed on unexalted subjects. Ostade, 
Gerard Dow, Paul Potter, Jan Steen, Terburg and Wo overmans, 
Berghem, Both, Hobbema and Van de Velde, and a host of others, 
were of this school. 

VIII. — The Spanish School, while it possesses great power, has for its 
characteristic a certain gloom and wHdness belonging to the national 
mind. The painters of this school have been divided into three 
principal schools, local rather than characteristic. Velasquez was 
of the Madrid school, Murillo of Seville, and Ribera, known in 
Italy as Spagnoletto, from Valencia. Alurillo is known most by 
his "Assumption," in the Louvre, and Ribera by the horribleness 
of his subjects. 

IX. — The French School is illustrious through its Claude Lorraine, Gas- 

par Poussin, Watteau, Le Brun, David, Gericauit, Delaroche, Ingres, 
Vernet, Ary Scheffer, Rosa Bonheur, Gerome — the number is 

X. — The English School may be said to have been founded by Hogarth. 

Its greatest names are Sir Joshua Reynolds, Gainsborough, West, 
Wilkie, Lawrence, and Turner. 
Scolia.— A hollow moulding, chiefly used in the base of the Ionic 

SCUMBLING. — The same as glazing. It is done by colours transpa- 
rent and diaphanous, having but little body, which are thinly 
scumbled with a fitch pencil over colours that are more staring, in 
order to bring them down and sweeten them into a harmony with 
those about them. 

Shaft.— That part of the column between the base and the capital. 

Sketch. — A perfect but incomplete drawing. 

Soffit. — The under surface of any arch, lintel, or projecting mould- 
ing or member. 

SPANDREL. — The triangular space between an arch and the right angle 
above it. 

Spire. — The pyramidical structure crowning a tower or turret. 
Splay. — The expansion given to doors and windows by slanting their 

Stalls. — Elevated seats on the sides of a choir, with canopies over 

them, for the clergy. 
Still-life. — Pictures of fruits, flowers, game, furniture, etc. 



Stipple. — Painting with the point of a pencil by dots and short 


Study. — A carefully finished record in form, or colour and form, of the 
whole or some part of a picture or a single object. A sketch, as 
distinguished from a study, wall generally mean the completion of 
a stage of the whole 'picture, or a part of it, as a study is the whole 
of a part. A study is a finished drawing, as of a head, a hand, 
or a limb,* etc. 

Stump. — A roll of soft leather paper or cloth, cut tapering, and used 
with the powder of the crayon in drawing. 

Style. — The manner peculiar to a school or an artist in composition, 
drawing, and colouring. Winkelmann assigns to Grecian art four 
styles. 1. The ancient style, or that which preceded Phidias ; 2. 
The grand style, or that which he established ; 3. The graceful 
style of Praxiteles and Apelles ; 4. The imitative style of subse- 
quent and worthless artists. 

Stylobate. — An uninterrupted base or continuous pedestal on which 
a line of columns is placed. 

Supporting. — 1. Of a figure. Supporting a figure is said of the inter- 
position of objects, or even the effects of chiaroscuro, between 
parts that would otherwise appear insulated, or be thrown forward 
in too separate and distinct relief from the ground, making a gap 
in the group to which the figure belongs, and rendering the effect 
of the composition meagre. This fault of emptiness is obviated by 
a skilful adjustment of draperies, by a happy arrangement of ob- 
jects in perspective or otherwise, which fill up the bare spots, but 
without obtrusion, so that they are felt to be there rather than re- 
marked, or, finally and simply, by a learned management of light 
and shadow. 2. Supporting colour. Colours are said to be sup- 
ported by similar tints adjacent, but inferior in brilliancy, as blues 
by purples, crimsons by reddish browns, and yellows by orange. 
Observe, the supporting tints must not only be similar, though in- 
ferior in brilliancy, but they must be adjacent. When introduced 
in different parts of the^ picture, colour is not supported, but 

Symmetry. — Equality or balance of parts horizontally placed. 
Systyle. — Columns placed two diameters apart. 


Tabernacle. — A canopy over seats, for the clergy and choir. 
Tetrastyle. — A portico with four columns in front. 



Text. — Any colour reduced by white. 

Tone. — The prevailing- tint or shade of colour. 

Torso. — The human trunk without limbs, used especially of that of 

Hercules in the Vatican. 
Torus.— A round moulding at the base of columns. 
Tracery. — The ornamental work in the head of a window or screen. 
Transept. — The arms of the cross in a cruciform church. 
Transom. — A horizontal bar dividing a window. 

Trefoil. — An ornament representing the three leaves of a flower, 

formed within a circle. 
Triglyph. — Three vertical channels in a Doric frieze. 
Truss. — Truss means to tie. The thrust or spread of a roof or arch 

may be resisted by an outside buttress resisting the compression, 

or by the tension of a truss tying its feet together, like a string on 

the ends of a bow. 
Tudor Flowers. — An upright flower employed for open parapets. 
Turret — Small towers placed at the angles of buildings. 


Volute. — The spirals on an Ionic capital. 








Gr. Agatharcus, the inventor of perspective 

scenery in theatres Painter B. c. 480 

Gr. Ageldas Senator f. B. c. 5th cent. 

Gr. Agesander (sculptor of "Laocoon and his 

Children") Sculptor B. c. 5th cent. 

Ital. Albano, Francis ("the painter of the Gra- 
ces") Painter 1578 1060 

Ital. Alberti, Leo Baptist, a Florentine Pa., Sc. &, Archit 1400 1490 

Ital. Albertinelli, Mariotto Painter 1520 

Gr. Alcamenes (pupil of Phidias) Scntytor f . B. c. 450 

Scotch. Allan, Sir William Painter 

Amer. Allston, Washington Poet &, Histor. Painter . .1779 1843 

Ital. Angelo, Michael (Buonarotti), a pre-emi- 
nent Pa., Sc. & Architect 1474 1563 

Ital. Angelo, Michael (Caravaggio) Painter 1569 1609 

Ital. Angelico da Fiesole Painter 1387 1445 

Angel choirs of, ii. 219 ; attained the highest beauty, ii. 184 ; 
cramped by traditional treatment, ii. 124 ; decoration of, ii. 214 ; 
distances of, iv. 347 ; finish of, ii. 82, hi. 126 ; his hatred of fog, 
iv. 53; influence of hills upon, iv. 350; introduction of portrai- 
ture in pictures by, ii. 119, iii. 35 ; his purity of life, iii. 74 ; spir- 
itual beauty of, iii. 35 : treatment of Passion subjects by, ii. 127 ; 
unison of exprcssional with pictorial power in, iii. 30 ; contrast 
between, and Wouvermans, v. 298 ; contrast between, and Sal- 
vator, v. 399. Pictures referred to— Annunciation, ii. 171 ; Cru- 
cifixion, i. 81, ii. 215; Infant Christ, ii. 217; Last Judgment, i. 
83: Last Judgment and Paradise, u, 21 \\ iii. 59; Spirits in Pri- 
son at the Feet of Christ, fresco in St. Mark's, ii. 55 (note) ; St. 
Dominic of Fiesole, ii. 55; Vita di Christo, ii. 214. 
Gr. i Apelles, the most celebrated of ancient 

painters Painter f. b. C. 330 

Gr. Apollodorus, an Athenian Painter f. b. c. 408 

Ital. Appiani, of Milan Painter 1754 1817 

Gr. Aristides, of Thebes Painter f. b. c. 240 




















Andran, Gerard, a celebrated Histor. Engraver 1640 

Baccio, Delia Porta (known as San Marco) Painter. : 14(59 

Bacon, John Sculptor 1740 

Balen, Henry Van Painter 1560 

Bandinelli, Baccio Senator 1487 

Cacus, ii. 181 ; Hercules, ii. 181. 

Banks, Thomas Sculptor 1745 

Barry, James Painter 1741 

Bartolini Engraver. 

Bartolomeo, Fra, di St. Marco l 3 ainter 1469 

Introduction of portraiture by, ii. 11 9. Pictures referred to — 
Last Judgment, ii. 178 ; St. Stephen, ii. 218. 

Basaiti. Marco 1588 

Open skies of, i. S3. Picture— St. Stephen, ii. 218. 

Batoni, Pompey Painter 1708 

Beechy, Sir Wm Landscape Painter 1753 

Bella, Stephano Delia, a Florentine Engraver 1610 

Bellini, Gentile 1421 

Architecture of the Renaissance style, i. 101, 106 : introduction 
of portraiture in pictures, ii. 119. 

Bellini, Giovanni 1426 

Finish of, ii. 82 ; hatred of fog, iv. 53 ; introduction of portrai- 
ture in pictures, ii. 119 ; landscape of, i. 84, iv. 36 ; luminous 
skies of, ii. 43 ; unison of expressional and pictorial power in, 
iii. 30 ; use of mountain distances, iv. 347 ; refinement and gra- 
dation, i. 84. Pictures referred to — Madonna at Milan, i. 84; 
San Francesco della Vigna at Venice, i. 84; St. Christopher, ii. 
119 : St. Jerome, ii. 211 ; St. Jerome in the Church of San 
Chrysostome, i. 84. 

Berghem, Mcolas Engraver 1624 

Landscape, Dulwich Gallery, i. 37, iii. ISO, v. 297. 

Bird. Edward Painter 1772 

Blacklock, drawing of the inferior hills, i. 303. 

Blake, William Painter & Engraver 1757 

Illustrations of the Book of Job, iii. 102. 

Bonifazio 1491 

Camp of Israel, iii. 325 ; what subjects treated by, v. 235. 

Both, John and Andrew Painters 1610 

Failures of, i. 194, v. 331. 

Bourdon, Sebastian Painter & Engraver 1616 

Bourgeoise, Sir Francis (born in London). Painter 1756 

Boydell, John (a printseller, and lord 

mayor of London) Engraver 1719 

Bramante D'Urbino, Francis L. (1st of St. 

Peter's Church) Architect 1444 

Brentel, Francis Painter f. 1635 

Brill, Matthew Painter 1550 

Bronzino 1511 

Base grotesque, iii. 102. Pictures referred to — Christ Visiting 
the Spirits in Prison, ii. 55. 

Bruges, John of, or John Van Eyck Painter 1370 

Buonarotti, Michael Angelo Painter, Sculptor & Ar . .1474 

Anatomy interfering with the divinity of figures, ii. 216 ; con- 
ception of human form, ii. 122, 124 ; completion of detail, iii. 
126 ; finish of, ii. 82 ; influence of mountains upon, iv. 349 ; use 
of symbol, ii. 210 ; repose in, ii. 68 (note) ; impetuous execution 
of, ii. 183 (note) ; expression of inspiration by, ii. 204. Pictures 
referred to — Bacchus, ii. 182 (note) ; Daniel, i. 62 ; Jonah, ii. 
197 ; Last Judgment, ii. 180, 182 ; Night and Day, ii. 203, iii. 
100 ; Pieta of Florence, ii. 182 ; Pieta of Genoa, ii. 82 ; Plague 
of the Fiery Serpents, ii. 68 (note) ; St. Matthew, ii. 182 ; Twi- 
light, i. 33 ; Vaults of Sistine Chapel, i. 30, 33. 
Burnett, James Landscape Painter 1788 

Cagliari, Paul (known as Paul Veronese), 

a celebrated Painter 1532 

Cagliari, Benedict, Carletto, and Gabriel, 

brothers and sons of Paul. 

Callcott, Sir A. W Landscape Painter. 1779 

Trent, i. 186. 












1650 & 56 











Gr. Callimachus Sculptor db Architect, f . b.c. 510 

Ital. Cambiaso, Lucus, a Genoese Painter 1527 1585 

Ital. Canaletto, Anthony, a Venetian Landscape Painter 1697 1718 

False treatment of water, i. 336 ; mannerism of, i. 109 ; painting 
in the Palazzo Manfrini, i. 197 ; Venice, as seen by, i. 109 ; works 
of, v. 207. 

Ital. Canova, Antonio Sculptor 1757 1822 

Unimaginative work of, ii. 1S1 ; Perseus, i. 62. 

Ital. Caracci Lodovico Painter 1555 1619 

Ital. Agostino Painter 1558 1601 

Ital. Annibale Painter 1560 1609 

Landscape of, hi. 324, iv. 72 ; use of base models of portraiture 

by, ii. 119. 

Ital. Caravagerio, Amerigi 1569 1609 

Ital. a Caravaggio, Polidoro 1495 1543 

Vulgaiity of, hi. 263 ; perpetual seeking for horror and ugliness, 

ii. 135 ; a worshipper of the depraved, iii. 34. 

Carpaccio, Vittor about 1500 

Delineation of architecture by, i. 105 ; luminous skies of, ii. 43 ; 

painting of St. Mark's Church, i. 106. 
Castagna, Andrea del 1409 1480 

Rocks of, iii. 245. 
Ital. Carpi, Ugo da, discoverer of the art of 

printing in Chiaro-oscuro — with three 

plates — to imitate drawings abozct 1700 

Fr. Casas, Louis Francis Painter & Architect 1756 1827 

Span. Castilio Y Saavedra, Anthony '..Painter 1603 1667 

Cattermole, G 

Foliage of, i. 401 ; Fall of the Clyde, i. 114 ; Glendearg, i. 114. 

Ital. Cavendone, James 

Ital. Cellini, Benvenuto, a Florentine 

Flem. Champagne, Philip de 

Gr. Chares 

Eng. Cosway, Richard 

Eng. Chantry, Sir Francis 

Fr. Chaudet, Anthony Denis 

Ital. Cimabue. Giovanni, a Florentine. . . 

Ital. Claude Gele — called Claude Lorrain 

Summary of his qualities, v. 258 ; painting of sunlieht by, iii. 
325, v. 331 ; feeling of the beauty of form, i. 75, iii. 325, v. 258 ; 
narrowness of, contrasted with vastness of nature, i. 76 ; aerial 
effects of, iii. 326, v. 258 ; sincerity of purpose of, iii. 325. v. 258 ; 
never forgot himself, i. 76, v. 258 ; true painting of afternoon 
sunshine, iii. 329, v. 259, 331; effeminate softness of, v. 259; 
landscape of, iii. 325, i. xxxviii. preface, v. 259 ; seas of, i. 76, 
340, v. 258, 259 ; skies of, i. 205, 224 ; tenderness of perception 
in, iii. 325 ; transition from Ghirlandajo to, iv. 1 ; absence of 
imagination in, ii. 155 ; waterfalls of, i. 296; treatment of rocks 
by, iv. 248, 302, iii. 329; tree drawing of, iii. 124, 341; absurdi- 
ties of conception, iii. 328: deficiency in foreground, i. 176, 394; 
distances of, i. 274 ; perspective of, i. 403. Pictures referred to — 
Morning, in National Gallery (Cephalus and Procris), i. 313 ; 
Enchanted Castle, i. 205 ; Campagna at Rome, i. xxxix. pre- 
face ; 11 Mulino, i. xxxviii. preface, v. 250, ii. 146 ; Landscape, 
No. 241, Dulwich Gallery, i. 205 ; Landscape, No. 244, Dulwich 
Gallery, i. 280 ; Landscape, No. 260, Dulwich Gallery, i. 299 ; 
Landscape in Uffizii Gallery, i. 335; Seaport, St. Ursula, No. 30, 
National Gallery, i. 205 ; Queen of Sheba. No. 14, National Gal- 
lery, i. 403;. Italian Seaport, No. 5, National Gallery, i. 227; 
Seaport, No. 14, National Callery, i. 22; Marriage of Isaac and 
Rebecca, i. 173, 191. 205, 274, 383; Moses at the Burning Bush, 

iii. 328 ; Narcissus, i. 383 ; Pisa, i v. 1 ; St. George and the Dra- 
gon, v. 261 ; Worship of the Golden Calf, v. 260 ; Sinon before 
Priam, i. 165, 275; Liber Veritatis, No. 5, iv. 302 ; Liber V., 
No. 86, iv. 216; L. V.. No. 91. iv. 24S, SM9; L. V.. No. 140, iii. 
121 ; L. V., No. 145. iii. 329; L. V., No. 180, iii. 328. 

Gr. Cleomenes, an Athenian (The Medicean 

Venus).. Sculptor f . B. C. 180 

Amer. Clevenger Sculptor 1844 

Amer. Cole, Thoma3 Land, tfc Hist. Painter. . . 1802 1848 



Engraver &, Sculptor.. 





Painter f. b. 

c. 300 

















Eng. Collins, William Land. & Fam. Life Pa . . 1788 

Ital. Conegliano, Cima da Painter 15th cent. 

Entire realization of foreground painting, iii. 182 ; painting in 
church of the Madonna dell' Orto, i. 80. 

Eng. Constable, John Painter 1776 1837 

Landscape of, iii. 130 ; simplicity and earnestness of, i. 92 ; aspen 
drawing of, iv. 75 ; Helmingham Park, Suffolk, iii. 123 ; Lock 
on the Stour, iii. 122 ; foliage of, i. 400, iii. 123 ; landscape of, 
iv. 36. 

Eng. Cooper, Samuel Miniature Painter 1689 

Amer. Copley, John Singleton (born in Boston). .Painter 1737 

Ital. Correggio, Ant. (founder of the Lombard 

school) Painter 1493 

Choice of background, iii. 323; painting of flesh by, iii. 101 ; 
leaf drawing of, v. 38 ; power of, to paint rain-clouds, v. 146 
(note) ; love of physical beauty, iii. 34 ; morbid gradation, ii. 46 ; 
morbid sentiment alism, ii. 170 ; mystery of, iv. 59 ; sensuality 
of, ii. 124, 134; sidelong grace of, iii. 29; tenderness of, iii. 43. 
Pictures referred to — Antiope, iii. 65, v. 39, 98, 140 ; Charioted 
Diana, ii. 124 ; Madonna of the Incoronazione, ii. 124 ; St. Cath- 
erine of the Giorno, ii. 124. 

Ital. Cortona, Pietro da, a Tuscan Painter 1596 1669 

Fr. Courtois, James (known as II Borgogn one) /YM«i!er 1621 1673 

Fr. Couston, Nicholas (also his brother ^xa.). Sculptor 1658 1731 

Cox, David 1783 1859 

Drawings of, i. xlii. preface, i. 95 ; foliage of, i. 400 ; rain-clouds 
of. i. 245 ; skies of, in water-colour, i. 253 ; sunset on distant 
hills, i. 97. 

Amer. Crawford, Thomas Sculptor 1813 1857 

Creswick, Thomas Painter 1811 1869 

Tree-painting of, i. 392. Pictures referred to — Nut-brown Maid, 

i. 392 ; Weald of Kent, i. 401. 
Cruikshank, G- 

iv. 379 ; Noah Claypole (" Oliver Twist"), v. 281. 

Dutch. Cuyp, Jacob G Landscape & Cattle Pa. .1568 1649 

Dutch. Cuyp, Albert (son of above) Landscape & Cattle Pa.. 1606 1667 

Dutch. Cuyp, Benjamin Historical Painter 1650 

Principal master of pastoral landscape, v. 206 ; tone of, i. 148 ; 
no sense of beauty, i. 75; sky of. i. 211, 222, 206; cattle painting 
of, v. 274; sunlight of, v. 269, 331 ; water of, i. 342; foliage of, 

v. 38, 40 ; and Rubens, v. 264-275. Pictures referred to — Hilly 
Landscape in Dulwich Gallery, No. 169, i. 148, 206 ; Landscape, 
in National Gallery, No. 53, i. 148, v. 41 ; Waterloo etchings, i. 
90 ; Landscape, Dulwich Gallery, No. 83, i. 336, No. 163, v. 40. 

Eng. Daniel, Thomas Landscape Painter 1840 

Ger. Dannecker, John Henry — (Ariadne, Szc). Sculptor 175S 1834 

Ariadne, iii. 77. 

Fr. David, James Louis, a celebrated Painter 1750 1825 

Fr. David (founder of recent French school) . . Sculptor 1780 

Fr. Delaroche, Paul Historical Painter. 

Ger. Denner, Balthaser Portrait Painter 1685 1747 

Dighton, W. E 

Hayfield in a Shower, ii. 224 ; Haymeadow Corner, ii. 224. 
G-r. Dinocrates, a Macedonian (builder of Alex- 
andria, &c.) Architect f. b. c. 330 

Ital. Dolci, Carlo • Scripture Painter 1616 1686 

Finish for finish's sake, iii. 117 ; softness and smoothness, iii. 
117 ; St. Peter, ii. 200. 

Ital. Domenichino (excelled in expression) Painter 1581 1641 

Angels of, ii. 216; landscape of, iii. 325; Madonna del Rosario, 
and Martyrdom of St., both utterly hateful, i. 87, ii. 216. 

Ital. Donatello, or Donato. a Florentine Sculptor 1383 1466 

Dutch. Douw, Gerard '. Familiar Life Painter . . . 1613 1674 

y Drummond 

A, Banditti on the Watch, ii. 224. 

J>(Fr. Dubuffe Historical Painter. 

Fr. Dufresnoy, Charles Alphonso Painter. 

Amor. Dunlap, William Historical Painter 1766 

Ger. Durer, Albert (and author) Pa., Eng., Sc., db Arch.. 1471 1528 



And Salvator, v. 244-254 ; deficiency in perception of the beau- 
tiful, iv. 320 ; education of, v. 240-249 ; mind of, how shown, v. 
29'J ; decision of, iv. 76, ii. 221 ; tree-drawing, v. 71 ; finish of, 
iii. 43, 128 ; gloomily minute, i. 88 ; hatred of fog, iv. 53 ; draw- 
ing of crests, iv. 211 ; love of sea, v. 248. Pictures referred to — 
Dragon of the Apocalypse, iv. 211 ; Fall of Lucifer, iv. 197 ; The 
Cannon, v. 248 ; Knight and Death, iii. 97, 102, v. 249, 252 ; 
Melancholia, iv. 45, iii. 100, v. 252, 253 ; Root of Apple-tree in 
Adam and Eve, iii. 120, v. 71 ; St. Hubert, v. 104, 248 ; St. Je- 
rome, v. 248. 

Ger. Eberhardt Sculptor. 

Eng. Eginton, Francis (restorer of the art of 

painting on glass) Painter 1737 1805 

Eng. Etty, William Historical Painter 1787 1849 

Richness and play of colour of, ii. 199 ; Morning Prayer, ii. 223 ; 

Still Life, ii. 223 ; St. John, ii. 223. 
Gr. Eupompus (founder of school at Sicyon) . . Painter. 
Dutch. Eyck, John Van (said to have invented 

painting in oil) Painter 1370 1441 

Deficiency in perception of the beautiful, iv. 326. 

Fielding, Copley 1787 1855 

Faithful rendering of nature, i. 96 ; feeling in the drawing of 
inferior mountains, i. 303 ; foliage of, i. 401 ; water of, i. 343 ; 
moorland foreground, i. 185 ; use of crude colour, i. 96 ; love of 
mist, iv. 72 ; rainclouds of, i. 245 ; sea of, i. 346 ; truth of, i. 
245. Picture referred to — Bolton Abbey, i. 98. 

Eng. Flaxman, John Sculptor 1755 1826 

Alpine stones, iv. 302 ; Pool of Envy (in his Dante), iv. 301. 

Francia, Francesco 1450 1518 

Architecture of the Renaissance style, i. 101 ; finish of, iii. 126; 
treatment of the open sky, ii. 42 ; Madonnas of, ii. 219 ; Nativ- 
ity, iii. 49. 

Swiss. Fuseli, Henry (resided in England) Painter 1741 1825 

Gaddi, Taddeo 1300 1352 

Treatment of the open sky, ii. 42. 

X Eng. Gainsborough, Thomas Landscape Painter 1727 178S 

Colour of, i. 91 ; execution of, i. xx. preface ; aerial distances of, 
i. 91 ; imperfect treatment of details, i. 81. 

Ital. Ghiberti, Laurence, a Florentine Sculptor 1378 1455 

Leaf moulding and bas-reliefs of, v. 38. 
Eng. Gibson • Sculptor. 

Ital. Giordani, Luke (The Proteus of painting). Pa inter 1629 1704 

Ghirlandajo 1449 1498 

Architecture of the Renaissance style, i. 101 ; introduction of 
portraiture in pictures, ii. 119; reality of conception, iii. 59; 
rocks of, iii. 245, 321 ; symmetrical arrangement of pictures, ii. 
73 ; treatment of the open sky, ii, 42 ; quaintness of landscape, 
iii. 329 ; garlanded backgrounds of, v. 97. Pictures referred to,— 
Adoration of the Magi, iii. 319 ; Baptism of Christ, iii. 321 ; 
Pisa, iv. 1. 

Ital. Giorgione, Barbarelli Painter 1477 1511 

Boyhood of. v. 801-309; perfect intellect of, v. 300: landscape 
of. i. 85 ; luminous sky of, ii. 42 ; modesty of, ii. 122, 123 ; one 
of the few who has painted leaves, v. 38 ; frescoes of, v. 299, 
354 ; sacrifice of form to colour by, ii. 198 ; two figures, or the 
Fondaco do' Tedeschi, i. 108 ; one of the seven supreme colour- 
ists, v. 335 (note). 

Ital. Giotto (one of the earliest modern) Painter, Sculp, &, Arch. .1276 1336 

Cramped by traditional treatment, ii. 175 ; decoration of, ii. 214; 
influence of hills- upon, iv. 860 ; introduction of portraiture in 
pictures, ii. 1*19; landscape Of, ii. 212; power in detail, iii. 59; 
reality of conception, iii. 59; symmetrical arrangement in pic- 
tures, ii. 72 ; treatment of the open sky, ii. 42 ; unison of ex- 
pressional and pictorial power in detail, iii. 80 ; use of mountain 
distances, iv. 347. Pictures referred to — Baptism of Christ, ii. 
172; Charity, iii. 101 ; Crucifixion and Arena frescoes, ii. 127; 
Sacrifice for the Fri«des, i. 86. 








Giraldon, Francis Sculptor : 1630 

Girodet — Trioson, Aime Louis Painter. 1767 

Gougon, John ("The French Phidias"). .Sculptor. 

Gozzoli, Benozzo 1408 

Landscape of, ii. .212; love of simple domestic incident, iii. 29; 
reality of conception, iii. 59 ; treatment of the open sky, ii. 42. 

Greenough, Horatio Sculptor 1805 

Guercino (real name Francis Barbieri).. . . Painter. 1590 

Hagar, ii. 128. 
Guido Beni (excelled in beauty of expres- 
sion and grace) Painter 1574 

Sensuality, ii. 124, 134 ; use of base models for portraiture, ii. 
119. Picture — Susannah and the Elders, ii. 124. 





Harding, J. D 1798 

Aspen, drawing of, iv. 75 ; execution of, i. 176, 397, iv. 75 ; 
chiaroscuro of, i. 176. 400 ; distance of, i. 186 ; foliage, i. 382, 
397 ; trees of, v. 66 (note), i. 382 ; rocks of, i. 309 ; water of, i. 
345. Pictures referred to — Chamonni, i. 282 ; Sunrise on the 
Swiss Alps, i. 99. 

Eng. Harlow, George Henry Painter 1787 

Eng. Haydon, B. B Historical Painter 1786 

Eng. Heath, Charles Engraver 

Flem. Hemling 1450 

Finish of, iii. 126. 

Eng. Hilton. William Historical Painter 1786 

Flem. Hobbema, Mynderhout Landscape Painter 1611 

Niggling of, v. 39, 40 ; distances of, i. 199 ; failures of, i. 195, 
393 ; landscape in Dulwich Gallery, v. 39. 

Eng. Hogarth, William Painter. 1697 

Swiss. Holbein, Hans Portrait & Historical Pa. ,1498 

Best northern art represented by, v. 221, 245 ; the most accu- 
rate portrait painter, v. 338 ; Dance of Death, iii. 97 ; glorious 
severity of, ii. 122 ; cared not for flowers, v. 97. 

Ger. Hollar, Wenceslaus (executed 2400 plates). Engraver 1607 

Dutch. Hooghe, De Painter 1643 

Quiet painting of, v. 297. 
Flem. Honthorst, Gerard (called Gherarda dal 

Notte) Painter 1592 

Dutch. Houbraken, Jacob (600 portraits) Engraver 1698 

Fr. Houdon (executed statue of Franklin). . . Sculptor 1746 

Fr. Houel, John (Picturesque Travels, &c.) . .Painter & Engraver 1736 

Hunt, Holman Painter 

Finish of, i. 410 (note). Pictures referred to — Awakened Con- 
science, iii. 93: Claudio and Isabella, iii. 28; Light of the 
World, iii. 30, 41, 59, 78, 340, iv. 58 (note) ; Christ in the Tem- 
ple, v. 364. 

Hunt, William 1790 

Anecdote of, iii. 90 ; Farmer's Girl, iii. 85 ; foliage of, i. 401 ; 
great ideality in treatment of still life, ii. 199. 
Dutch. Huysum, John Van (flowers and fruit) Painter 1682 

Amer. Inman, Henry Portrait & Landsc. Pa. .1801 






Jones, Inigo Architect. . 

Jordaens, Jacob Painter. . . 

Julio, Romano Painter & 



rchitect 1492 



Kauffman, M. A. Angelica C. (in Eng- 
land) Poetical Painter 1747 

Kneller, Sir Godfrey (resided in Eng\and)Painler 1648 









Eng. Landseer, Edwin Animal & Historical Pa . 1873 

More a natural historian than a painter, ii. 198 (note) ; animal 
painting of, v. 272 ; Dog of, ii. 198 ; Old Cover Hack, deficiency 
of colour, ii. 222 : Itandom Shot, ii. 222 ; Shepherd's Chief 
Mourner, i. 9, 30 : Ladies' Pets, imperfect grass drawing, v. 
105 ; Low Life, v. 281. 

Dutch. Lairesse, Gerard (excelled in expedition).. Painter & Engraver 1640 1711 




















Landon, C. P. (more eminent as an author 

of works on the fine arts) Painter. 



ii. 12. 

. Portrait & Hist. Painter. 1769 





Treatment of the ope 
Lawrence, Sir Thomas. . . 
Satan of, ii. 204. 

Lewis, John 

Climax of water-colour drawing, i. 35 ; success in seizing Span- 
ish character, i. 121. 

Lebrun, Charles (painter to Louis XIY.). .Painter 

Lely, Sir Peter (painter to Charles II. of 

England) Painter 

Le Sieur, Eustace (the French Raphael) . . Painter 

Leslie, C. R Painter 

Leutze, Emmanuel 

Leyden, Lucas, Dammesz Painter & Engraver 


Cumuli of, i. 141 (note). Picture referred to — Eve of the Del- 
uge, ii. 221. 

Lippi. Filippino 

Heads of,"ii. 215 ; Tribute Money, iii. 322. 

Liverseege, Henr y Painter 

Lysippus (made 600 statues) Sculptor f. b. c. 

Malbone, Edward G Miniature Painter 1777 

Mantegna, Andrea - Painter 1431 

Pamting of stones by, iv. 296 ; decoration of, ii. 215. 

Masaccio Painter 1402 

Painting of vital truth from vital present, iii. 94: introduction 
of portraiture into pictures, ii. 119 ; mountain scenery of. i. 93, 
iv. 293 : Deliverance of Peter, ii. 217 ; Tribute Money, i. 83, 93, 
iii. 322.' 

Matsys, Quintin Painter 1460 

Mayer Sculptor. 

Mazzuolo. Francis (inventor of etching). . .Painter 1503 

Memmi, Simone 1285 

Abstract of the Duomo at Florence, at Santa Maria Novella, i. 
101 : introduction of portraiture in pictures, ii. 119. 

Mengs, Anthony R. (the Raphael of Ger- 
many) Painter 1729 

Mumard, Peter Painter 1610 


Huguenot, iii. 93. 

Mind, Gottfried Painter 1768 

Mino da Fiesole 

Trutn and tenderness of, ii. 181 ; two statues by. ii. 197. 

Moreland. George Painter • 1764 

Mulready 1796 

Pictures by— The Butt, perfect colour, ii. 221 ; Burchell and So- 
phia, ii. 221 ; Choosing of the Wedding Gown, ii. 221 : Gravel 
Pit, ii. 222. 

Murillo, Bartholomew S Painter 1613 

Painting of, ii. 82. 

.Historical Painter 1785 


Newton, Gilbert Stuart , 


Treatment of water by, i. 344. 

Nollekins, Joseph Sculptor 1737 

Northcote, James Painter 1746 

Opie, John Painter 1761 

Orcagna lS&ti 

Influence of hills upon, iv. 350 ; intense solemnity and energy of. 
iii. 29: unison of expresaional and pictorial power in detail of, 
iii. 30: Inferao, ii. 127: Last Judgment, ii. 178, iii. 58: Ma- 
donna, ii. 197; Triumph of Death, iii. 59, 100. 

Ostade, Adrian Van (interiors) Familiar Life. Painter. . .1610 

Otitade; Isaac (winter scenes) Painter 1617 

Owen, William Painter. ................ 1769 


Pajou, Augustin Sculptc 




Ital. Palladio, Andrew Architect 1518 

Span. Palomino de Castro Y Velasco, A. A Painter. . . : .1653 

Gr. Parrhasius, of Ephesus. Painter f. B. c. 420 

Amer. Peale, Charles W Histor. & Portrait Pa. . . 1741 

Fr. Perrault, Claudius (designed the Front of 

the Louvre) Architect 1613 

Ital. Perugino, Peter (the master of Baphael) . . Painter 1446 

Decoration of, ii. 214 ; finish of, ii. 82 ; formalities of, iii. 128, 
322 ; hatred of fog, iv. 53 ; landscape of, ii. 212 ; mountain dis- 
tances of, iv. 348 ; right use of gold by, i. 1U6 ; rationalism of, 
how affecting his works, v. 217 ; sea of, i. 342 ; expression of, 
inspiration by, ii. 218. Pictures referred to — Annunciation, ii. 
43 ; Assumption of the Virgin, ii. 43 : Michael the Archangel, ii. 
218 ; Nativity, iii. 49 ; Portrait of Himself, ii. 134 ; Queen- Vir- 
gin, iii. 52 ; St. Maddelena at Florence, i. 342. 

Petitot, John (excelled in enamel) Painter .1607 

Phidias (the most famous of ancient sculp- 
tors) Sculptor b. c. 498: 

Picart, Bernard Engraver 1663 

Pickersgill ^ 

Contest of Beauty, ii. 223. 

Pigalle, John Baptiste Sculptor 1714 

Piles, Boger de (an author and painter). .Painter 1635 

Pinturicchio i 1454 

Finish of, ii. 82 : Madonnas of, ii. 219. 

Piranesi, John Baptiste (16 vols, folio) Engraver 1707 

Pisellino, Filippo 

Bocks of, iii. 245. 

Polycletus (statue of Juno at Argos) Sculptor B. c. 430 

Pordencne, Begillo da Painter 1584 

Potter. Paul (unequalled in animal paint- 
ing) Painter 1625 

Landscape, in Grosvenor Gallery, ii. 220 ; Landscape, No. 176, 
Dulwich Gallery, i. 3S6 : foliage of, compared with Hobbima*s 
and BuysdaeFs, v. 38 ; best Dutch painter of cattle, 269. 

Poussin, Gaspar (Dughet) landscape Painter 1613 

Foliage of, i. 381-390; distance of, i. 199: narrowness of, con- 
trasted with vastness of nature, i. 176; mannerism of, i. 88.. ii. 
44, iv. 36 : perception of moral truth, i. 75 : skies of, i. 224, 227 ; 
want of imagination, ii. 155 ; false sublimity, iv. 240. Pictures 
referred to — Chimborazo, i. 205 ; Destruction of Niobe's Chil- 
dren, in Dulwich Gallerv, i. 290 : Dido and ^Eneas, i. 254, 386, 
ii. 156 ; La Biccia. i. 381, 152, ii. 156 ; Mont Blanc, i. 205 ; Sac- 
rifice of Isaac, i. 192, 205, 227. ii. 156. 
Fr. Poussin. Nicholas (excelled in landscape 

painting) Painter 1594 

And Claude, v. 255-262 ; principal master of classical landscape, 
v. 206, 261 ; peculiarities of, v. 262 ; compared with Claude and 
Titian, v. 262 ; characteristics of works by, v. 262 ; want of sen- 
sibility in, v. 262 ; landscape of, v. 262-263 : trees of, i. 395 ; 
landscape of, composed on right principles, i. 88, iii. 330, ii. 156. 
Pictures referred to — The Plague, v. 262 : Death of Polydectes, 
v. 262 : Triumph of David, v. 262 ; The Deluge, v. 262 ; Apollo, 
ii. 202 ; Deluge (Louvre), i. 341, iv. 239 ; Landscape, No. 260, 
Dulwich Gallery, i. 142: Landscape, No'. 212, Dulwich Gallery, 
i. 227 ; Phocion, i. 142, 155, 173, 254 ; Triumph of Flora, iii. 330. 

Amer. Powers, Hiram Sculptor 1805 

Gr. Praxiteles Sculptor f. B. c. 350 

Amer. Pratt, Matthew Painter 1734 

Procaccini, Camillo Painter 1546 

Picture referred to— Martyrdom (Milan), ii. 12S. 

\ Prout, Samuel Painter 1786 

Master of noble picturesque, iv. 14 ; influence on modern art by 
works of, i. 100 : excellent composition and colour of, i. 110, 112; 
expression of the crumbling character of stone, i. 94, 110, 112. 
Pictures referred to— Brussels, ,i. Ill ; Cologne, i. Ill : Flemish 
Hotel de Ville, i. 113: Gothic Well at Batisbon. i. Ill : Italy 
and Switzerland, i. Ill ; Louvain, i. Ill ; Nuremberg, i. Ill ; 
Sion, i. Ill ; Sketches in Flanders and Germany, i. Ill ; Spire 
of Calais, iv. 14 ; Tours, i. 111. 














c. 431 










Fr. Prudhon, of Cluny rainier 1760 1823 

Fr. Paget, Peter Sculp., Pa. dk Arch 1622 1094 


Instance of modern grotesque from, iv. 379. 

Pyne, J. B . 

Drawing of, i. 310. 
Gr. Pythagoras Sculptor. 

Ital. Raphael (real name Sanzio), a pre-emi- 
nent Painter 1483 1520 

Chiaroscuro of, iv. 44: completion of detail by, i. 81, ih. 119; 
finish of, ii. 82 ; instances of leaf drawing by, v. #8 ; convention- 
alism of branches by, v. 41 : his hatred of fog, hi. 126, iv. 53 ; 
influence of hills upon. iv. 349 ; influenced by Masaccio, hi. 322 ; 
introduction of portraiture in pictures by, ii. 119 ; composition 
of, v. 193 : lofty disdain of colour in drawings of. v. 337 (note) ; 
landscape of, ii. 212 : mountain distance of. iv. 347 : subtle gra- 
dation of sky, ii. 45-48 ; symbolism of. iii. 100. Pictures referred 
to — Baldacehino, ii. 43 ; Charge to Peter, iii. 54, 322 : Draught 
of Fishes, i. preface, xxviii.. ii. 199 : Holy Family — Tribune of 
the Uffizii. iii. 320 : Madonna della Sediola, ii. 43. iii. 52 : Ma- 
donna dell' Impannata, ii. 43 ; Madonna del Cardcllino. ii. 43 ; 
Madonna di San Sisto, iii. 5S ; Massacre of the Innocents, ii. 
128, 176 ; Michael the Archangel, ii. 11S : Moses at the Burning 
Bush. ii. 122 ; Nativity, iii. 347 : St. Catherine, i. preface, xxx., 

i. 34,' 136. ii. 97, 218 ; St. Cecilia, ii. 134, 213, iii. 16, 56 ; St. 
John of the Tribune, ii. 43 ; School of Athens, ih. 28 ; Trans- 
figuration, iii. 56 (note). 

Ital. Rembrandt, Paul Painter 1606 1674 

Landscape cf, i. 189 ; chiaroscuro of. iii. 36, iv. 3S-45 ; etchings 
of , i. 399 ( note) ; vulgarity of, iii. 263. Pictures referred to — 
Presentation of Christ in the Temple, ii. 41 ; Spotted Shell, ii. 
199 : Painting of himself and his wife, v. 267. 

Rethel, A 

Pictures referred to — Death the Avenger, hi. 102 ; Death the 
Friend, ih. 102. 

V Retsch Painter 1779 1859 

Pictures referred to — Illustrations to Schiller's Fight of the 
Dragon, ii. 167. 

Eng. Reynolds, Sir Joshua Painter 1723 1792 

Swiftest of painters, v. 203 ; influence of early life of, on paint- 
ing of, v. 304 ; lectures quoted, i. 7, 44, iii. 4 : tenderness of, iv. 
63 (note). Picture referred to — Charitv, iii. 101. 

W Roberts, David . 1796 1864 

Architectural drawing of, i. 115 ; drawings of the Holy Land. i. 
116; hieroglyphics of the Egyptian temples, i. 117; Roslin 
Chapel, i. 117. 

Robson, G 1776 1&33 

Mountain scenery of, i. 94, iii. 332. 

Fr. Roland, Philip L. (Homer in the Louvre) .Sculptor 1746 1816 

Eng. Romney, George Painter 1734 1802 

Ital. Rosa, Salvator (scenes of gloom) Painter 1614 1673 

And Albert Durer, v. 244-254 ; landscape of, i. 385 ; characteris- 
tics of, v. 250, 299 ; how influenced by Calabrian scenery, v. 250 ; 
of what capable, v. 250 ; death, how regarded by, v. 251 ; con- 
trast between, and Angelico, v. 299; leaf branches of, com- 
pared with Durcr's, v. 72, 73: example of tree bough of, v. 49; 
education of, v. 249, 250 ; fallacies of contrast with early artic-ts, 
v. 52 : narrowness of, contrasted with freedom and vastness of 
nature, i. 70 ; perpetual seeking for horror and ugliness, ii. 12(5, 
135, v. 50-71 ; skies of, i. 224, 227 : vicious execution of, i. 39, ii. 
82; vigorous imagination of, ii. 156; vulgarity of, iii. 34, iii. 
325, 263. Pictures referred to — Apollo and Sibyl, v. 75 : L'mnna 
Fragilita, v. 251 : Baptism of Christ, ii. 172 (note): Battles by, 

ii. 124; Diogenes, ii, 150: Finding of OEdipns, iii. 119, v. 70; 
Landscape, No. 220, Dulwioh C illery, i. 228, 237, 289, 307; 
Landscape, No. 159. Dulwich Gallery, i. 251: Sea-piece (Pitti 
Palace), i. 340; Peace burning the arms of War, i. 385; St. 
Jerome, ii. 150 ; Temptation of St. Anthony, ii. 44 (note); Mer- 
cury and the Woodman (National Gallery), i. 154. 




Eng. Rowlandson, Th. (caricature — Dr. Syntax, 

&c. ) Painter dk- Engraver 1756 1827 

Flem. Rubens, Peter Paul, a celebrated Painter. . .'. 1577 164U 

And Cuyp, v. 264-275 ; colour of, i. 166 ; landscape of, i. 89, 217, 
iii. 187, 325 ; leaf drawing of, v. 38 : flowers of, v. 97 ; realistic 
temper of, iii. 101 ; symbolism of, iii. 100 ; treatment of light, ii. 
40, i. 162 ; want of feeling for grace and mystery, iv. 14 ; cha- 
racteristics of, v. 266 ; religion of, v. 267 ; delight in martyr- 
doms, v. 206 ; painting of dogs and horses by, v. 272, 273 : de- 
scriptions of his own pictures by, v. 267 ; imitation of sunlight 
by, v. 331 (note) ; hunts by, v. 272. Pictures referred to— Ado- 
ration of the Magi, i. 37 ; Battle of the Amazons, v. 266 ; Land- 
scape, No. 175, Dulwich Gallery, iv. 15 : His Family, v. 267 ; 
Waggoner, iii. 118 ; Landscapes in Pitti Palace, i. 89 ; Sunset 
behind a Tournament, iii. 325. 

Runciman, Alexander Painter 1736 1785 

Ruysdael, Jacob Landscape Painter 1636 1684 

Pictures referred to — Punning and Falling Water, i. 321, 340 ; 
Sea-piece, i. 340. 

Ruysdael, Solomon Pointer 1616 1670 

Rysbrach, John Michael (works in West- 
minster Abbey) Sculptor 1694 1770 

Sanmicheli, Michael Architect 1434 1559 

Sarto, Andrea del, see Vanucchi. 

Scamozzi, Vincent Architect 1550 1616 

Schadow, Rudolf Sculptor 1786 1822 

Schalken, Godfrey (candlelight scenes). ..Painter 1643 1706 

Sehongauer, Martin : 1420 I486 

Joy in ugliness, iv. 323 ; missal drawing of, iv. 323. 

Scopas Sculptor B.C. 460 B. c. 353 

Sharp, William Engraver 1740 1824 

Sherwin, John Keyse Engraver 1790 

Smybert, John Painter. 1728 1751 

Snyders, Francis (landscape and animal).. Painter 1579 1657 

Painting of dogs by, v. 272. 
Soufflot, J. G. (church of St. Genevieve at 

Paris). . , Architect 1714 1 781 

Spaendonck, Gerradvan (flower) Painter 1746 1S22 

Spagnoletto 1589 1615 

Vicious execution of, ii. 82. 

Stanfield, Clarkson 1793 1867 

Architectural drawing of, i. 118 ; boats of, i. 119 ; chiaroscuro 
of, i. 277 ; clouds of, i. 221, 239 ; a realistic painter, i. 118, iv. 57 
(note) ; knowledge and power of, i. 348. Pictures referred to — 
Amain, ii. 222 : Borromean Islands, with St. Gothard in the dis- 
tance, i. 278 ; Botallack Mine (coast scenery), i. 309 ; Brittany, 
near Dol, iv. 7 ; Castle of Ischia, i. 119 ; Doge's Palace at Ven- 
ice, i. 120 ; East Cliff, Hastings, i. 308 : Magra, ii. 223 ; Rocks 
of Suli, i. 302 ; Wreck on the Coast of Holland, i. 119. 

Strange, Robert Engraver 1721 1792 

Strutt, Joseph (an author and painter) Painter 1749 1802 

Stuart. James (author of the "Antiquities 

of Athens ») Architect 1713 1788 

Stuart, Gilbert (pupil of Benjamin West). Portrait Painter 1756 1828 

Sully, Thomas Painter 1783 

Taylor, Frederick 

Drawings of, power of .^wift execution, i. 35, 253. 

Teniers, David, the elder (pupil of Rubens) PaiJiter 1582 1649 

Teniers. David, the younger (pupil of Ru- 
bens) Painter 1610 1694 

Scenery of, v. 268 ; painter of low subjects, v. 272. Pictures re- 
ferred to — Landscape, No. 139, Dulwich Gallery, i. 311. 

Thorwaldsen Sculptor 1772 1844 

Timanthes (contemporary with Parrha- 

sius) Painter f . b. c. 420 

Tintoretto (a Venetian — pupil of Titian). .Painter 1512 1594 

Colouring of, iii. 43 ; Delicacy of, iii. 39 ; painting of vital truth 
from the vital present, iii. 93 ; use of concentrically-grouped 




















leaves by, ii. 72 ; imagination, ii. 155, 15(5, 170, 17G ; inadequacy 
• of landscapes by, i. 77; influence of hills upon, iv. 250 ; inten- 
sity of imagination of, ii. 170, iv. 63 ; introduction of portrait- 
ure in pictures, ii. 11!); luminous sky of, ii. 42; modesty of, ii. 
122 ; neglectful of flower-beauty, v. 97 ; mystery about tlie pen- 
cilling of, ii. 65 ; no sympathy with the humour of the world, iv. 
13 ; painter of space, i. 85 ; realistic temper of, iii. 101 ; sacrifice 
of form to colour by, ii. 197 ; Brightness and earnest haste of, ii. 
81 (note) ; 183 (note) ; symbolism of, iii. 100. Pictures referred 
to — Agony in the Garden, ii. 156 ; Adoration of the Magi, iii. 81, 
126, iv. 68 ; Annunciation, ii. 161 : Baptism, ii. 200 ; Cain and 
Abel, i. 393 (note) ;■ Crucifixion, ii. 174, 180, iii. 72 ; v. 209, 235 ; 
Doge Loredano before the Madonna, ii. 200 ; Entombment, ii. 
170, iii. 324 ; Pall of Adam, i. 79 (note) ; Flight into Egypt, ii. 
156, 202 ; Golden Calf, ii. 200 ; Last Judgment, ii. 178 ; picture 
in Church of Madonna dell' Orto, i. 106 ; Massacre of the Inno- 
cents, ii. 129, 170, 180 ; Murder of Abel, i. 386 ; Paradise, i. 334, 

iv. 62, v. 235, 242 ; Plague of Piery Serpents, ii. 180 ; St. Prancis, 

ii. 203 ; Temptation, ii. 156, 184. 
Ital. Titian (the greatest painter of Venetian 

school) Painter 1480 1579 

Tone of, i. 146 ; tree drawing of, i. 387 ; want of foreshortening, 

v. 77 ; bough drawing of, i. 387 ; good leaf drawing, v. 39 ; dis- 
tant branches of, v. 41 ; drawing of crests by, iv. 214 ; colour in 
the shadows of, iv. 45 ; mind of, v. 240, 241 ; imagination of, ii. 
156 ; master of heroic landscape, v. 206 ; landscape of, i. 77, iii. 
323 ; influence of hills upon, iv. 350 ; introduction of portraiture 
in pictures, ii. 119 ; home of, v. 301, 302 ; modesty of, ii. 122 ; 
mystery about the pencilling of, iv. 59 ; partial want of sense of 
beauty of, ii. 134 ; prefers jewels and fans to flowers, v. 97 ; 
right conception of the human form, ii. 122, v. 241 ; sacrifice of 
form to colour by, ii. 198 ; colour of, v. 331, 334; stones of, iv. 
298, 299 ; trees of, i. 387, ii. 72. Pictures referred to — Assump- 
tion, iv. 197 (note), v. 235, 242, 266, 329 ; Bacchus and Ariadne, 
i. 33, 146, iii. 127, v. 97 ; Death of Abel, i. 79 (note) ; Entomb- 
ment, iii. 126 ; Europa (Dulvvich Gallery), i. 146 ; Faith, i. 107 ; 
Holy Family, v. 199 (note) ; Madonna and Child, v. 181 ; Madon- 
na with St. Peter and St. George, v. 181 ; Flagellation, ii. 43 ; 
Magdalen (Pitti Palace), ii. 123, v. 240, 354 (note) ; Marriage of 
St. Catherine, i. 89 ; Portrait of Lavinia, v. 97 ; preface viii. ; 
Older Lavinia, preface viii. ; St. Francis receiving the Stigmata, 
i. 211 (note); St. Jerome, i. 85, ii. 156; St. John, ii. 119; San 
Pietro Martire, ii. 156, 202 ; Supper at Emmans, iii. 20, 126 ; 
Venus, iii. 65 ; Notomie, v. 354. 

Amer. Trumbull, John Historical Painter 1756 1843 

Turner, William, of Oxford 

Mountain drawings, i. 301. 

Eng. Turner, Joseph Mallord William 1775 1851 

Character of, v. 358-359, (note) 365 ; affection of, for humble 
scenery, iv. 243, 244 ; architectural drawing of, i. 107, 196 ; his 
notion of "Eris" or "Discord," v. 323, 324; admiration of, for 
Vandevelde, i. 324 ; boyhood of, v. 303-313 ; chiaroscuro of, i. 
132, 141, 146, 278, 358, iv. 38-50 ; only painter of sun-colour, v. 
331 ; painter of " the Rose and the Cankervvorm," v. 340 ; his 
subjection of colour to chiaroscuro, i. 108 ; colour of, i. 132, 149, 
154, 157, 168, 166-168, ii. 198, iii. 242 (note), iv. 38 ; v. 335 (note) ; 
composition of, iv. 26, 302 ; curvature of, i. 123. 395, iii. 123 ; iv. 
188, 280 ; tree drawing of, i. 388, v. 41, 70, 74, 77 ; drawing of 
banks by, iv. 287, 289 ; discovery of scarlet shadow by, v. 331, 
333, 334 ; drawing of cliffs by, iv. 241 ; drawing of 
crests by, iv. 216, 218, 223 ; drawing of figures by, i. 
186; drawing of reflections by, i. 149, 354, 350, 373, 374; 
drawing of leaves by, v. 41, 100 ; drawing of water by, i. 350, 
3T6; exceeding refinement of truth in, i. 405; education of, 

iii. 316, v. 315 (note) ; execution of, v. 41 ; ruin of his pictures 
by decay of pigments, i. 133 (note) ; gradation of, i. 256 ; supe- 
riority of intellect in, i. 29 ; expression of weight in water by, i. 
362, 871 ; expression of infinite redundance by, iv. 285; aspects, 
iii. 285, 313 ; first great landscape painter, iii. 285, v. 342 ; form 
sacrificed to colour, ii. 198; head of Pre-liaphaelitism, iv. 58; 




master of contemplative landscape, v. 207 ; work of, in first 
period, v. 314 ; infinity of, i. 236, 278 ; ii. 23?, 288, 294 ; influ- 
ence of Yorkshire scenery upon, i. 123, iv. 241, 291, 296, 302 ; his' 
love of stones and rocks, iii. 321, iv. 22 ; love of rounded hills, 

iv. 241 ; master of the science of aspects, iii. 313 ; mystery of, 

i. 195, 254, 407, iv. 32, 58, v. 41 ; painting of French and Swiss 
landscape by, i. 127 ; spirit of pines not entered into by, v. 86, 
87 ; flowers not often painted by, v. 99 ; painting of distant ex- 
panses of water bv, i. 360 ; rendering of Italian character by, i. 
127 ; skies of, .i. 135, 198, 232, 263 ; storm-clouds, how regarded 
by, v. 152 ; study of clouds by, i. 218, 232, 238, 246-257, v. 127 ; 
study of old masters by, iii. 330; sketches of, v. 195, 196, 350, 
£50 (note), v. preface, v. A T i. ; system of tone of, i. 141, 150, 358 ; 
treatment of foregrounds by, i. 314, v. 105 ; treatment of pictur- 
esque by, iv. 6-14 ; treatment of snow mountains by, iv. 236 ; 
memoranda of, v. 197, 198, 351 (note) ; topography of, iv. 15-32 ; 
unity of, i. 316 ; views of Italy by, i. 129 ; memory of, iv. 26, 
29 ; ideal conception of, i. 377 ; endurance of ugliness by, v. 303, 
304 ; inventive imagination of, dependent on mental vision and 
truth of impression, iv. 20-23, 302; lessons to be learnt from 
Liber Studiorum, v. 349, 350 ; life of, v. 357 ; death of, v. 367. 

Pictures referred to — iEsaeus and Hesperie, i. 389 ; Acro-Cor- 
inth, i. 218 ; Alnwick, i. 124, 265 ; Ancient Italy, i. 128 ; Apollo 
and Sibyl, v. 348 ; Arona with St. Gothard, i. 278 ; Assos, i. 198 
(note); Avenue of Brienne, i. 175; Babylon, i. 232; Bam- 
borough, i. 369 ; Bay of Bala?, i. 129, 319, iii. 318, v. 1C6, 339 ; 
Bedford, i. 124 ; Ben Lomond, i. 254 ; Bethlehem, i. 239 ; Bin- 
gen, i. 264; Blenheim, i. 264; Bolton Abbey, i. 389, iii. 122, iv. 
244 ; Bonneville in Savoy, i. 130 ; Boy of Egremont, i. 367 ; 
Buckfastleigh, i. 263, iv. 15 ; Building of Carthage, i. 29, 133, 145, 
159, 167, iii. 318 ; Burning of Parliament House, i. 265 ; Caer- 
laverock, i. 198 (note), 260 ; Calais, i. 265 ; Calder Bridge, i. 130 ; 
Caldron Snout Pall, i. 264 ; Caligula's Bridge, i. 128 ; v. 348 ; 
Canale della Guidecca, i. 357 ; Carew Castle, i. 264; Carthages, 
the two, i. 128, v. 352 ; Castle Upnor, i. 263, 353 ; Chain Bridge 
over the Tees, i. 363, 389 ; Chateau de la Belle Gabrielle, i. 389, 

v. 66 ; Chateau of Prince Albert, i. 352 ; Cicero's Villa, i. 128, 
133, 144, 145 ; Cliff from Bolton Abbey, iii. 321 ; Constance, i. 
£61 ; Corinth, i. 263 ; Coventry, i. 251, 264 : Cowes, i. 264, 357, 
£59 ; Crossing the Brook, i. 128, 167, 389 ; Daphne and Leucip- 
pus, i. 197, 198 (note), 289, 295, iv. 2S5, v. 106; Dartmouth 
(river scenery), i. 209 ; Dartmouth Cove (Southern Coast), i. 389 ; 
Dazio Grande, i. 367 ; Departure of Regulus, i. 128 ; Devonport, 
with the Dockyards, i. 156 (note), 356 ; Dragon of the Hesper- 
ides, iii. 101, v. 323-328 ; Drawing of the spot where Harold fell, 

ii. 196 ; Drawings of the Bivers of Prance, i. 126 ; Drawings of 
Swiss Scenery, i. 124 ; Drawing of the Chain of the Alps of the 
Superga above Turin, iii. 129 ; Drawing of Mount Pilate, iv. 
223, 292, 293; Dudley, i. 169 (note), 265; Durham, i. 263, 389; 
Dunbar, i. 370 ; Dunstaffnage, i. 258. 281 ; Ely, i. 404 ; Eton 
College, i. 124; Fai'do, Pass of, iv. 20, 218; Fall of Carthage, i. 
144, 167 ; Fall of Schaffhausen, v. 178, 353 (note) ; Flight into 
Egypt, i. 239 ; Fire at Sea, v. 200 (note) ; Folkestone, i. 239, 264 ; 
Fort Augustus, i. 300 ; Fountain of Fallacy, i. 128 ; Fowey Har- 
bour, i. 262, 370, v. 152 (note) ; Florence, i. 129 ; Glencoe, i. 281 ; 
Goldau (a recent drawing), i. 260 (note); Goldau, i. 362, iv. 307, 
308, v. 353 (note) ; Golden Bongh, iv. 285 ; Gosport, i. 254 ; Great 
Yarmouth, i. 377 (note) ; Hannibal passing the Alps, i. 127 ; 
Hampton Court, i. 175 ; Hero and Leander, i. 128, 174, 239, 369, 
403, v. 200 (note) ; Holy Isle, iii. 317 ; Illustration to the Anti- 
quary, 260; Inverarv, v. 70; Isola Bella, iii. 129; Ivy Bridge, 
i. 130; Jason, ii. 168, iii. 127; Juliet and her Nurse, i. 132, 134 
(note), 265; Junction of the Greta and Tees, i. 367, iv. 303; 
Kenilworth, i. 264; Killie-Crankie, i. 366; Kilgarren, i. 124; 
Kirby Lonsdale Churchyard, i. 2(53, 389, iv. 14, 308; Lancaster 
Sands, i. 335; Land's End, i. 248 (note), 250, 347, 370, 372; 
Laueharne, i. 370 ; Llanberis, i. 91, 264, v. 336 (note) (English 
series) ; Llanthony Abbey, i. 124, 169 (note), 248, 317, 366; Long 
Ship's Lighthouse, i. 250 ; Lowestoft, i. 263, 347, 377 (note) ; 
Lucerne, iv. 223 ; " Male Bolge " (of the Splugen and St. Goth- 



ard, iv. 308 ; Malvern, i. 264 ; Marly, i. 79, 393 ; Mercury and 
Argus, i. 142, 103, 1(59 (note), 195, 218, 314, 319, 366, v. 02 ; 
Modern Italy, i. 129, 169 (note), iv. 266 ; Morecambe Bay, i. 
255 ; Mount Lebanon, i. 289 ; Murano, view of, i. 135 ; Napo- 
leon, i. 149, 158, 160, 167, 218, 264, 306, v. 128, 350 (note) ; Na- 
poleon at St. Helena, iv. 308; Narcissus and Echo, v. 315; 
Nemi, i. 264 : Nottingham, i. 264, 354, iv. 28 ; Oakhampton, i. 
124, 254, 263, 394; Oberwesel, i. 264, 301; Orford, Suffolk, 1. 
263; Ostend, i. 374; Palestrina, i. 129: Pas-de-Calais, i. 334, 
374 ; Penmaen Mavvr, i. 319 ; Picture of the Deluge, i. 342 ; 
Pools of Solomon, i. 233, 264, v. 126 ; Port Ruysdael, i. 374 ; Py- 
ramid of Caius Cestins, i. 264 ; Python, v. 330, 332 ; Rape of 
Proserpine, i. 129; Rheinfels, v. 351 (note); Rhymer's Glen, i. 
366 ; Richmond (Middlesex), i. 264 ; Richmond (Yorkshire), i. 
258. iv. 15, v. 106 ; Rome from the Forum, i. 331, v. 353 ; Salis- 
bury, v. 154 ; Saltash, i. 264, 353 ; San Benedetto, looking to- 
ward Fusina, i. 357, 135, v. 128 ; Scarborough, iii. 125 ; Shores 
of Wharf e, iv. 244 : Shylock, i. 218, 263 ; Sketches in National 
Gallery, v. 175. 196; Sketches in Switzerland, i. 135; Slave 
Ship, i. 132, 134 (note), 144, 149, 167, 258, 2(54, ii. 292, iv. 308, v. 
152, 353; Snowstorm, i. 127, 167, 347, v. 359 (note); St. Goth- 
ard, iv. 25. 2S6, 294 ; St. Herbert's Isle, i. 265 ; St. Michael's 
Mount, i. 258, 260 ; Stonehenge, i. 257, 264, v. 154 (English 
series) ; Study (Block of Gneiss at Chamouni), iii. 129 ; Study 
(Psestum), v. 155 ; Sun of Venice going to Sea, i. 135. 356 ; 
Swiss Fribourg, iii. 129; Tantallon Castle, i. 373: Tees (Upper 
^ Fall of), i. 315, 319, 362, iv. 303 ; Tees (Lower Fall of), i. 317, 
366 ; Temptation on the Mountain (Illustration to Milton), ii. 
205 ; Temple of Jupiter, i. 128, iii. 317 ; Temple of Minerva, v. 
155 ; Tenth Pla°rue of Egypt, i. 128, v. 311 (note), 315 ; The Old 
Temeraire, i. 132, iv. 308, v. 12S. 305 ; Tivoli, i. 129 ; Towers of 
Heve, i. 265 ; Trafalgar, v. 3 5 : Trematon Castle, i. 265 ; Ulles- 
water, i. 318, 353, iv. 303 ; Ulysses and Polypheme, iv. 303, v. 

353 (note) ; various vignettes, i. 263 ; Venices, i. 107. 263, v. 353, 

354 ; Walhalla, i. 134 (note) ; Wall Tower of a Swiss Town, iv. 
68; Warwick, i. 264, 389; Waterloo, i. 25S, 265; Whitby, iii. 
317; Wilderness of Engedi, i. 198 (note), 264; Winchelsea (Eng- 
lish series), i. 168 (note), 264 ; Windsor, from Eton, i. 124 ; Wy- 
cliffe, near Rokeby, iv. 303. 

Finden's Bible Series :— Babylon, i. 232; Bethlehem, i. 239; 
Mount' Lebanon, i. 2S9, v. 155 ; Sinai, v. 155 ; Pyramids of 
Egypt, i. 239 ; Pool of Solomon, i. 233, v. 126 ; Fifth Plague of 
Egypt, i. 128, v. 315. 

Illustrations to Campbell :— Hohenlinden, i. 263 : Second Vig- 
nette, i. 254 ; The Andes, i. 273 ; Vignette to the Beech- Tree's 
Petition, i. 174 ; Vignette to Last Man, i. 268. 

Illustrations to Rogers' " Italv : " — Amalfi, i. 235; Aosta, i. 
273; Battle of Marengo, i. 269, 281; Farewell, i. 281; Lake of 
Albano, i. 264 ; Lake of Como, i. 234 ; Lake of Geneva, i. 235, 263 ; 
Lake of Lucerne, i. 259. 361 ; Perugia, i. 174 ; Piacenza, i. 264, 
292; Passtum, i. 256, 264; Second Vignette, i. 260, 367; The 
Great St. Bernard, i. 260 ; Vignette to St. Maurice, i. 260, 361 
(note), v. 136. 

Illustrations to Rogers' " Poems : " — Bridge of Sighs, i. 265 ; 
Datur Hora Quieti, i. 143, 264, v. 178 ; Garden opposite title-page, 
i, 174; Jacqueline, i, 273, ii. 205; Loch Lomond, i. 3(50; Rialto, 
i. 239, 265; Sunset behind Willows, i. 145; Sunrise, i. 209; Sun- 
rise on the Sea, i. 219, 259; the Alps at Daybreak, i. 220, 259, 2(53, 
272; Vignette to Human Life, i. 263; Vignette to Slowly along 
the Evening Sky, i. 210 ; Vignette to the Second Part of Jacque- 
line, ii. 205; Villa of Galileo, i. 129; Voyage of Columbus, i. 239, 
263, ii. 196. 

Illustrations to Scott :— Armstrong's Tower, i. 175 ; Chicfswood 
Cottage, i. 389; Derwentwater, i. 360 ; Drybur^h, 1.861; Dun- 
staffnage, i. 258, 281 ; Glencoe, i. 281, 289 ; Loch Archray, i. 281 ; 




Loch Coriskin, i. 249. 288, iv. 216 ; Loch Katrine, i. 289, 360 ; 
Melrose, i. 361 ; Skiddaw, i. 263, 300. 

Liber Studiorum : — iEsacus and Hesperie, i. 127, 394 (note), 
ii. 159 ; Ben Arthur, i. 123, iv. 302, 303 ; Blair Athol, i. 388 ; 
Cephalus and Procris, i. 388, 394 (note), ii. 157, 203, iii. 324, v. 
350 ; Chartreuse, i. 125, 388. iii. 324 ; Chepstow, v. 350 ; Domes- 
tic subjects of L. S., i. 125 ; Dunstan borough, v. 350 ; Foliage of 
L. S., i. 126 ; Garden of Hesperides, iii. 317, v. 316 ; Gate of Win- 
chelsea Wall, v. 350 ; Raglan, v. 350 ; Rape of Europa, v. 350 ; 
Via Mala. v. 351 (note), iv. 254 ; Isis, v. 182, 183 ; Hedging and 
Ditching, i. 125, 388, v. 349 ; Jason, i. 128, ii. 166, 193, iii. 324 ; 
Juvenile Tricks, i. 388 ; Lauffenbourg, i. 125, iii. 324, v. 182 ; 
Little Devil's Bridge, i. 124, iv. 25 ; Llanberis, i. 255 ; Mer de 
Grlace, i. 123, 282, iv. 186 ; Mill near Grande Chartreuse, iv. 254, 
v. 349 ; Morpeth Tower, v. 350 ; Mont St. Gothard. i. 124, 307 
(note) ; Peat Bog, iii. 324, v. 349 ; Rivaulx choir, v. 350 ; Rizpah, 
i. 127, iii. 324, iv. 14, v. 311, 350 ; Solway Moss, iii. 324 ; Source 
of Avernon, iv. 302, v. 86 ; Study of the Lock, iv. 7, v. 349 ; 
Young Anglers, v. 349 ; Water Mill, v. 349. 

Rivers of Prance, i. 126 : Amboise, i. 180, 264 : Amboise (the 
• Chateau), i. 180 ; Beaugency. i. 180 ; Blois, i. ISO ; Blois (Cha- 

teau de), i. 180, 198, 264 ; Caudebec, i. 264, 298, 361 ; Chateau 
Gaillard, i. 180 ; Clairmont, i. 264, 299 ; Confluence of the Seine 
and Marne, i. 359 ; Drawings oP, i. 127 ; Havre, i. 220 ; Honflear, 
i. 299 ; Jumieges, i. 247, 359 ; La Chaise de Gargantua, i. 359 ; 
Loire, i. 358; Mantes, i. 265; Mauves, i. 299; Montjan, i. 264; 
Orleans, i. 180 ; Quilleboeuf, i. 372, 166 ; Reitz, near Saumur, v. 
168, 169 ; Rouen, i. 495, v. 127 ; Rouen, from St. Catherine's Hill, 
i. 237, 361 ; St. Denis, i. 260, 265 ; St. Julien, i. 181, 265 ; The 
Lantern of St. Cloud, i. 263 ; Troyes, i. 264 ; Tours, i. 181, 265 ; 
Vernon, i. 359. 

Yorkshire Series :— Aske Hall, i. 389, v. 75 ; Brignall Church, 
i. 389 ; Hardraw Pall, iv. 303 ; Ingleborough, iv. 216 ; Greta, iv. 
131, 244 ; Junction of the Greta and Tees, i. 318, 367, iv. 303 ; 
Kirkby Lonsdale, i. 263, 389, iv. 14, 308 ; Richmond, i. 258, iv. 
14, v. 41 ; Richmond Castle, iii. 236 ; Tees (Upper PaU of), i. 
315, 31S, 362, iv. 303 ; Zurich, i. 362. 

Uccello, Paul 1349 1432 

Battle of Sant' Egidio, National Gallery, v. 5, 296. 
TJwin 1783 1857 

Vineyard Scene in the South of France, ii. 223. 

Eng. Vanbrugh, Sir John (Blenheim and Castle 

Howard) Architect 1672 1726 

Dutch. Vandervelde, William (marine and battle) Painter 1610 1693 

Dutch. Vandervelde, Adrian Landscape Pointer 1639 1672 

Dutch. Vanderwerf, Adrian Historical Painter 1654 1718 

Dutch. Vandervelde, the younger Painter 1633 1707 

Reflection of, i. 353 ; waves of, iii. 831 ; Vessels Becalmed, No. 
113, Dulwich Gallery, i. 336. 
Mem. Vandyke, Sir Anthony (the greatest of 

portrait painters) Portrait Painter 1598 1641 

Plowers of, v. 97 ; delicacy of, v. 290 (note). Pictures — Portrait 
of King Charles' Children, v. 97 ; the Knight, v. 288 (note). 
Ital. Vannucchi, or And 
Ital. Van Vitelli, Louis, 
Ital. Vasari, George (a b 
Sic. Vasi, Joseph, a des: 


5 M. P., 333 (note). 






Architect & Painter 









Historical Painter. 





Chiaroscuro of, iii. 36, iv. 39-45 ; colour in the shadows of, iv. 
45 ; delicacy of, iii. 39 ; influence of hills upon, iv. 350 ; love of 




physical beauty, iii. 34 ; mystery about the pencilling of, iv. 59 ; 
no sympathy with the tragedy and horror of the world, iv. 14 ; 
sincerity of manner, iii. 42 : symbolism of, iii. 100 ; treatment of 
the open sky, ii. 42 ; tree drawing of, v. 72 ; foreground of, v. 97 ; 
religion of, (love casting out fear), v. 235 ; animal painting, com- 
pared with Landseer's, ii. 198. Pictures — Entombment, ii. 43 ; 
Magdalen washing the feet of Christ, iii. 20, 31 ; Marriage in 
Cana, iii. 126, iv. 63, v. 208, 233, 235 ; two fresco figures at Ven- 
ice, i. 108 ; Supper at Emmaus, iii. 31, 62 ; Queen of Sheba, v. 
preface, vii. 238 ; Family of Veronese, v. 235-237 ; Holy Family, 
v. 239 ; Veronica, v. 239 ; Europa, v. 97, 182 ; Triumph of Ven- 
ice, v. 181 ; Family of Darius, National Gallery, v. 200. 

Ital. Verrochio, And'w (inventor of the method 
of taking the features in a plaster 

mould) Sculptor 1422 1488 

Eng. Vertue, George (500 plates) Engraver 1884 1756 

Ital. Vignola, James (Caprarola palace and St. 

Peter's) Architect 1507 1573 

Ital. Vinci, Leonardo da Painter 1452 1519 

Chiaroscuro of, iv. 45 (and note) ; completion of detail by, iii. 

126 ; drapery of, iv. 46 ; finish of, ii. 82, iii. 267 ; hatred of fog, 

iv. 53 ; introduction of portraiture in pictures, ii. 119 ; influence 

of hills upon, iv. 351 ; landscape of, i. 86 ; love of beauty, iii. 42 ; 

rocks of, iii. 245 ; system of contrast of masses, iv. 41. Pictures 

— Angel, ii. 173 ; Cenacolo, ii. 210 ; Holy Familv (Louvre), i. 86 ; 

Last Supper, iii. 28, 347 ; St. Anne, iv. 296, iii. 126. 

Gr. Vitruvius (temp. Augustus) Architect f. B. c. 30 

Ital. Volpato, John Engraver 1733 1802 

Fr. Vouet, Simon, founder of French school 

(temp. Charles I.) Painter 1582 1649 

Fr. Wailly, Charles de Architect 1729 1798 


Snow scenes of, i. 281 (note). 
Eng. Warren, Charles (perfecter of engraving 

Amer. West, Benjamin. 

. Engraver 




Familiar Life Painter. 



Landscape Painter 







Eng. Wilson, Richard 

Eng. Woollet, William 

Dutch. Wouvermans, Philip 

Leaves of, v. 40 ; landscape of, v. 207 ; vulgarity of, v. 293, 297 ; 

contrast between, and Angelico, v. 298. Pictures referred to — 

Landscape, with hunting party, v. 293 ; Battle piece, with bridge, 

v. 295. 

Eng. Wren, Sir Christopher (St. Paul's, &c.). . .Architect 1632 1723 

Eng. Wyatt, James (Pantheon, Kew Palace, hc,)Architect 1743 1813 

Ital. Zablia, Nicholas Architect 1674 1750 

Gr. Zeuxis, a celebrated ancient Painter b. c. 490 b. c. 400 

Picture of Centaur, v. 273. 

Ger. Zincke Enamel Portrait Pa 1684 1767 

Ital. Zuccaro, or Zucchero, Taddeo Painter 1 529 1 566 

Ital. Zuccaro, or Zucchero, Frederigo Painter 1539 1610 

Ital. ZuccareUi Painter. 1710 1788